The ball was finally with me. I steadied myself as I looked up to see the goalpost. Half the field away. And with three defenders dieing to charge at me. I put the ball forward and thought to myself, “This is your chance. Your opportunity to prove yourself. To the world around you. To everyone. To her.” I dribbled past the first, then a swift movement past the second, faked a shot and beat the third. It was me and the goalie. One on one. What seemed like eternity then, happened in a split-second. I saw the anxious goalie unsure of whether or not to make a run out of his spot on the white line. I made up my mind, took aim and shot…
Finally, his dreams were coming true. Here was a friend, who in spite of being the most talented person I have ever met, had surrendered his dreams and settled on more pragmatic ambitions. Goals that needed their dedication and diligence no doubt, but were mere asteroids in the galactic possibilities that entailed as a result of his enviable skills. Goals, punned of course. I celebrated in silent glee as he beat two of the menacing defenders without batting as much as an eyelid. Then his majestic fake that outwit the last defender bringing him into a standoff with the final protector of the enemy base. In what lasted mere seconds, the ball was hit fiercely towards the opposition goalie guarding his elusive white rectangular frame.
I looked at him again. And again. My eyes refused to concede to the repeated orders of a troubled mind. He was truly remarkable. Looked like a brazen God dressed in his favourite red jersey and black studs adorned by the orange institute socks. Not a moment passed when I did not regret what I had done. He had been a true gentleman throughout. After knowing everything. Except for the nasty swipes he took on the last day. The heart yearns for company and sometimes, much to the chagrin of the brain, chooses disloyalty and dishonesty, when in fact, it could be the most important time to uphold such values. My eyes shadowed his graceful moves assiduously as he weaved a magical way through the bewildered players of the opposite team. I thought of the memories I had had with him. His smile. But now I saw a different him. A more focused him. I felt his emotions and energy within me as he moved towards his goal. Finally, I let off a shriek as he readied himself and hit the ball.
I punched my gloved hands together to intimidate the brawny machine which was bulling its path, making fools out of the strong defense that my team boasted off. As if completely bamboozling two of them wasn’t enough, he made an amateur of our most experienced defender as he got past him with a brilliant fake. And there he was. I made my mind not to charge him and stood my ground instead. He saw it too. He knew I wasn’t coming out. But he decided to shoot. He lined himself up and he whacked the ball. Straight towards the goal. My goal. I heard someone in the audience cry out as he released his projectile with much ferocity. But I sure as hell wasn’t going to wait around for it to find the back of the net. I dove full length towards the far post where the ball seemed predestined to reach. I was in full stretch and in mid air.
Running around all day can be tiring for a hapless referee. Not much time left in this match though. Another thrilling goalless encounter, past extra time and now reaching the ill fated penalty shootouts in which heroes are made and losers are staid. Now though, I had to concentrate on the game at hand. Seems the forward has the ball and is going full steam towards enemy territory. One fair tackle, no, make that two. A fake. Clean move. All set to shoot. I run towards to get a better view but before I can make it, he lets out a screamer of a shot. The goalie dives with hands yearning to push the ball into relative safety away from the inviting belly of his goal. The ball swerves in the air, but hit with much power seems almost set to enter, when out of nowhere, the ball decides to test the probabilities and hit the goalpost instead. Bounces off the woodwork and makes a direct collision course… with me. Before I know it, the ball ricochets off me. In due course of time, it makes its way into the big open target of the forward much to the stupor of the goalie, the striker, the teams and everyone else. Everyone’s quiet. I look around. I blow the whistle.