Oof! I land on my back, hard. I think I think I heard my bones cracking that time. I keep trying. I always do. Coach Jordan couldn’t even be bothered coming today, so I’m out here. Alone. In the rain. Sweat and rain poor down my face at the same time in buckets, but you can’t tell which one is which. I have been trying to master this kick; the bicycle kick for a long time now, I can’t keep track of how long. And I’ve never made it once. How does Ronaldo make it look so easy?
“Hey mum,” I say grumbling miserably. I slam the door behind me as I walk inside.
“Hey my soccer star, how did it go?” she asks me happily and excitedly. That’s weird about mum. Always happy, and gets things right all the time, first try. It’s like she has no problems. I wish I could be like her. I walk straight past her without answering. Her wide grin turns to just a hint of a smile. She knew I STILL had not made the kick yet. I take off my muddy ‘Manchester United’ jersey and my shorts and put them into the wash. I go upstairs and change into my pyjamas. I am still dirty, but I do not feel like having a shower or eating. I feel like I want to puke, fall into a hole that will open up on the ground to suck me up. Something…
The next day I do the same. Get a new jersey out, Neymar this time, and practice the kick again. Over and over. The first kick I did actually came closer than ever before. I actually made contact with the ball. That is an achievement for me. Am I mastering it, or is it just plain luck? I notice my friend Jack is watching me. Now, I would not say Jack is a good striker, I would say he is a GREAT striker. He has scored the most goals in this half of the season. He leads for the title by eight goals! He sometimes comes to watch me, but he has never asked me this before…
“Can I have a go?” he asks. I look at him puzzled and surprised.
“Sure, but I think you will fail,” I say, smiling smugly. He will fail. I know he will.
CLANG! Thoomp! The ball skids the back net.
“Crossbar goal,” Jack says, whooping, after scoring his forty-second bicycle kick goal in a row. He mastered it first try. How?
“We have a game tomorrow,” he says. “And I’m pumped,”
We are one of the best teams this season because of Jack. We are The Purple Dragons. Our fifth game is tomorrow. I’m excited.
Game 5: The Purple Dragons vs The Leprechauns. This team is good. They are all Irish.
We won. 2-0 Our way. Jack scored both the goals, but no bicycle kicks were scored.
Game 6: Purple Dragons vs Brunswick United FC. 3-1 our way. My other friend Bill scored 2 goals and assisted another goal, a header goal by Steve, but still, no bicycle kicks were scored.
Game 7: Purple Dragons vs The Cobras. It was a 2-2 draw. Their striker booted 2 goals past our goalie in the first half. We had an eye on winning that game, but I missed the penalty that would have given us the win. Jack scored a goal again, and Fred scored a goal too.
Game 8: Our last game, because of the BYE next week.
Jack comes towards me, limping. Why is he limping?
“Hey dude,” he says. “I hurt my leg. I can’t play,”
“W-What?” I stammer. “But you’re our best striker,”
“I’m sorry. I can’t,” He replies. He forces a weak smile. “You go, striker, just for this game,”
Whatever he says. Jack is my best friend, of course I will go striker for him.
The whistle blows. We kick off. Nothing happens most the game. Some shots and attempts from both teams, but no goals. After the first half, it’s still 0-0.
*5 Minutes Later*
The whistle blows again. They kick off this time. Bill steals the ball and makes an attempt for goal. He shoots, but the keeper just saves it. It rolls over the sideline. Our corner. Bill is our best corner taker. He can bend the ball the best. He does an amazing curve, and I realise that I have a chance for a goal! A bicycle kick goal! It is coming straight at me. This is my chance to do a bicycle kick. I throw my body up and swing my leg forward hard. I make contact. I land on my back really hard. I rub it for a while. I look over at the opposition goal, but the ball is not there. Huh? I look at the players, their team’s players and my team’s players. They are gaping like fish. I turn my head slowly to look at our goals. The ball is in the goals! I AM HORRIFIED! I had scored an own goal bicycle kick from the other side of the field. I can’t believe it. My team can’t believe it. 0-1 their way. Can we get this win back?
We have so many attempts and close shots. We try everything, but nothing works. No one passed to me the whole half. They hate me. I might lose the season for them; after all, this is the finals game. One goal will save us. One goal will take us to penalties. The three whistle blasts blow to signal the end of the game.
“Good job, bozo,” says Bill shoving past me.
“You made us lose loser!” Jim says.
I am rained with abuse from every player. I guess I deserve it. I did just lose the finals for our team. I see Jack walking off slowly with his crutches, shaking his head. I am so disappointed. I am such an idiot! What a mistake!