Lacrosse is a contact sport created by the North American Indians, in which the ball is thrown, caught, and carried in a long-handled stick with a triangular frame and shallow netting at one end. The sport is still played today, and is a known tradition in my family. I first started playing when I was in fifth grade. I remember that season was dreadful. Our goal average was almost lower than our actual motivation to play the game. I was a part time goalie for that season,and I was probably the worst to ever play Aside from goalie I would play attack, or offense.
I honestly can say I never touched the ball once that season. We ended that season with a total of 9 losses and 1 win, coming in second to last place. Last place was the Metro Greyhounds, our only win. Even though the start of my lacrosse career was a little shaky, I continued to play. Fast forward two and a half years and much has changed. We were now the Eureka Wildcats. We were bold, we were fierce. I was the main goalie for our team. We were above many teams in our age group. Except for two, Rockwood South and MICDS. Now, us and Rockwood South were tied for second, leaving MICDS in first.
They were undefeated. “Syd! ” My dad shouted from downstairs. “We gotta go! ” “Yeah, whatever,” I wasn’t that excited for today. The Eureka Wildcats were going to be playing for first and I was nervous. “I’ll be down in a minute,” I mumbled back getting my lacrosse uniform together. One thing I don’t like about being the coach’s daughter is always having to be at the fields an hour early. I made sure to put on my lucky black and white Adrenaline socks for today, laced up my white Under Armor cleats, and ran out the door.
The car ride there was filled with anxiety. My mind was racing with terrible thoughts with things that could go wrong, and my leg was shaking violently like a jackhammer. I kept picturing MICDS celebrating together as we lowered our heads in defeat. I tried to pull myself out of this. This was not the mindset I needed. I turned on the radio, in attempt to bring up my mood a bit, focusing on the music and not what’s about to happen today. As we pulled into Sportport, I was pulled back into reality. We met up with my mom, the director of SLYLA (St.
Louis Youth Lacrosse Association) . She could tell I was not in the best mood so she let me drive the golf cart with all the equipment down to the field, where we would play Rockwood South, fighting for second place. I came down to the empty field and began to put on the goalie equipment; the black padded pants, the black shin guards, the huge helmet which chin strap never fits right, and the chest padding with my uniform over it. Since no one was down at the field yet, I used up time by practicing some independent drills to get me warmed up.
When my mom and dad arrived, I had them take shots on me. Soon, some of my teammates began to show up and they were blasting music to bring up the hype. Before I knew it, warm up time was over and it was time for the team captains to do the coin flip, which determines who starts out on what side. I never knew the significance for this, but apparently some coaches thought it was very important. Rockwood South ended up taking that one, picking the side their bench was on. I began jogging to the goal I was guarding, along with my defenders.
The attack players ran to the opposing team’s goal, and the midfielders ran to the middle of the field and one from each team lined up for the draw. The draw happens at the beginning of each play, and it determines what team gets the ball first. A player from each team stands in the center circle, facing the goal they’re scoring on. They press the head of their sticks against each others, with the ball in between. When the referee blows the whistle, the players fling their sticks up in the air, the ball flying up. Whoever gets it, gets it. Pretty simple. We won the game against Rockwood South, 8-6.
Us and MICDS were tied for first. I helped my dad bring over some of the equipment to field 4. After half an hour of watching the Redskirts and 410 West finish their game, we finally we able to get on the field and start practicing. After 10 minutes, my dad called us over and we huddled up. “Don’t forget,” He told us, “This team is very aggressive. You have to give this game all you got 100% of the time. ” We had played MICDS before and we tied. That’s the closest anyone has ever gotten to beating them. We then sent the team captains to do the coin flip and then it was game time.
I ran to the goal I was defending and my defenders and their attack players lined up on the restraining line in front of me. The two midfielders taking the draw lined up at the midfield line. The whistle blew and the opposing time got the ball instantly. Everyone was running towards me while I was getting ready to stop the ball from going past me. The player with the ball got to the 8 meter line and was getting ready to shoot. I gripped my goalie stick as hard as I could and pushed it out in front of my face, ready to swing it to wherever the ball was shot.
With a hard swing, the ball left the players stick and was flying towards the left corner of the goal. I was in the motion of swinging my stick towards that corner when number 10 on our team flung her stick out in front of the ball and caught it. The crowd roared with cheers, our coaches and teammates were screaming for her to run. Her catching everyone off guard with this catch gave her a head start to get farther down the field before people started chasing her. She took the ball all the way down the field and scored. Our team celebrated our tiny victory but MICDS soon caught up and scored their first goal.
This happened for the whole first half. We would score and then they would score. We ended the first half 5-5. “Alright huddle up! ” My dad called the team over when the halftime buzzer rang. “Hey,” My dad turned to me. “You’re doing amazing. Try to be a little more aggressive. ” He hit my helmet and turned to the teammates. “Out of all my coaching years, or even years of living, never have I witnessed Eureka come this close to beating MICDS. This is literally a dream to me, so don’t ruin it! ” I ran back to my goal and took a second to take in the moment. The day was hot, 90 degrees at least.
The sun was blazing and the sky was a beautiful powder blue, with wisps of clouds that looked like white strokes from a paint brush. 20 minutes flew by and both teams scored once. There was five minutes left in the game and we were tied. Every time a team would get close to scoring, the opposing team would snatch the ball from them and bring it to the other side. 30 seconds left in the game and our team has the ball. Number 23 is running it down the field, coming up to the 12 meter arc. She brings her stick up, just about ready to shoot when suddenly a loud blare filled the field. The game had ended.
The refs called the coaches over to determine what they were going to do. I mean you can’t end the season tournament on a tie. They decided we were going to do a 5 minute overtime. We all lined up at our positions and the middies took the draw. 5 minutes passed, no goals. Many shots were taken but none were good enough to surpass the goalies. The referees explained to us how we were going to do another overtime. This one was different though; it was sudden death. Sudden death is basically, first goal wins. There were many emotions I was feeling; anxious, intrigued, a little mad. I was so nervous I was sweating buckets.
Well, I was also sweating because I was in 90+ degree weather and had goalie equipment on. One last time, the players lined up. The players were wearing fear on their sleeves. At this point, I can tell the MICDS coaches were getting tired of this. They were so set on winning all the time that it came to them naturally. They weren’t nervous. In their book, they already won. I looked over at my dad. He was sitting on the bench with his elbows on his knees, looking overwhelmed by nervousness. He had faith in us, definitely, but he’s had to go through seven years of losing to this over-confident, snotty team.
He was so nervous because the next goal could change all of that. Whistle blows and the players begin fighting for the ball. MICDS gets it and everyone starts running down the field towards me. I watch the ball intently, calling out the position of the ball constantly for the defenders. They player with the ball is trying to get around the defenders in order to shoot, but they wouldn’t budge. Within all the chaos, one of the defenders on our team stepped in the goalie circle, or the crease, giving MICDS a penalty shot. All of the players lined up around the 8 meter line.
I made eye contact with the shooting player in order to get a glimpse of where she might shoot. I could practically feel her determination. The ref began running back, taking the breath to blow the whistle. With a hard blow, the ref blew the whistle so loud that my ears hurt. The player sprang forward in a spring, and three strides in, the ball left her stick. It flung past all the defenders, as they were trying to stop it. I leaped toward the ball that was flying towards the bottom right corner, but I was a half a second too late.
I felt the ball hit the top of my stick and bounce off into the goal. The opposing players screamed in victory while I was nearly on the verge of tears. I let my dad down, I let my team down. MICDS ran at each other, celebrating their victory. With my head down, I took the ball out of the goal and handed it to the ref. “Go get your goalie! ” My dad yelled at the team. After every game, win or lose, we always go and attack the goalie as a sign of praise. My teammates ran at me, hitting me on the helmet with their hands and picking me up.
We gathered around at the benches. *“I want you to know how incredibly proud I am of this team,” My dad started out, with a huge smile on his face. “ I want you guys to look at how you were two years ago. Think about all of those defeats. Remember at the very end of the season, when we beat the Metro Greyhounds? Remember how much we celebrated? Remember how we felt like the best team in the world, even though our only win was the worst team in our league. ” The team was silent, looking back on the terrible season.
“Now look at you guys,” He continued, his expression brightening up. you guys were so used to the victory and pride that you haven’t noticed that you just went into double overtime to the greatest team in our league! You should be celebrating! ” This made me think. Even though we didn’t quite take first, we sure did improve. The rest of the team began realizing the same thing, and I watched everyone start laughing and cheering. I laughed with my team as we gathered around for a team picture. I posted it with the caption, “Here’s to an amazing season. I am so proud to say I’m on this team. Nice job placing second, Wildcats! ” I said my goodbyes to my teammates, as we would all meet again next season.