“Sara. Sara. Wake up. It’s 6:40. Time to get up!” I groggily awoke and got dressed for hockey.
This morning I was sacrificing my beauty sleep to support my team. We were up against the Titans, the team that’s beaten us all season. We wanted a win more than anything.
“Ryan, Ryan, here pass!” I exclaimed.
I could tell by the way he was scrambling to control the puck that he was unable to pass. Time was running out, only seconds left. The game was tied 3-3 and we were in perfect scoring position. There was a rubbery screech as the defenseman’s wheels lost their grip and he fell hard onto the inline hockey platform. Now was the best moment. If only I could get the puck out from under two battling blades.
The prodigious scoreboard centered on the high ceiling confirmed that there was only 27 seconds left before the final buzzer meaning GAME OVER. This is the last game before playoffs and a win was desperately needed. I’d already gotten my team this far, deflecting the puck between the goalie’s legs for a goal and dropping a perfect pass for an assist. It was my turn to finish it.
“Tyler! Shoot it! Pass it! Do something!” I mumbled to myself as Tyler fluently skated down the blue rubbery platform, his orange wheels spinning at the speed of light. My head turned to read the scoreboard. My confidence dropped as I realized they had placed their top players out. “We’re gonna lose!” I thought. But my conscience took over. I wasn’t letting that happen.
Tyler deked the first oncoming opponent. Then the next. Soon, Ryan and I were both standing in front of the opponent’s net, patiently waiting for a pass. When Tyler cleanly passed the puck to Ryan, the defenseman was all over him. He just barely got a shot off, which the goalie saved with ease as it just casually bounced off of his chest. Ryan regained possession and attempted to shoot again. But he couldn’t. The puck was neatly stuck under two fighting sticks.
I couldn’t just stand there.
“Ryan! Pass!” I begged for the puck, but realized my yells wouldn’t help the situation.
So I took matters into my own hands, clock probably nearing zero, and went for it.
My stick was soon jammed between two sticks. The puck was freed, and now on my blade. The defender fell and began to aimlessly wave his stick to poke check the puck. That wasn’t happening. There was an opening. The perfect opening. So from point blank range I pulled the puck behind me and launched it forward towards the net protected by the helpless goalie. It went through the narrow hole between the goalie’s left shoulder and red metal where the post meets the crossbar. Right where grandma hides the cookies.
The ref blew his whistle, signaling a goal. I glanced at the scoreboard. 2.4 seconds. The buzzer sounded. Game over. We win.
From then on, I was always the teammate to look at in a desperate time of need. I’d scored in a shootout. I was the only one to score in that shootout. I always completed perfect passes that opened up scoring opportunities and always sniping and scoring from yards away. For the first time playing on an all boys team (besides me), I was the one who they looked up to. (And not just because I was the tallest.)