Snow fluttered to the ground as Jane pulled her gold jersey closer to guard against the blistering chill. Although the miniature goblins and ghouls had just collected their annual treats, winter was already wrapping its bitterly cold hands around her. The soccer field shone, glistening from the already melting snowflakes. Even though championship game had not yet started, the Warrior stadium overflowed with rows of eager fans, enthusiastic to be watching such an important soccer match. The line of girls marched up to the slushy field to meet their adversaries, the Panthers, shivering in their gold soccer shorts. Jane could see the opposing team glance warily at them as if the game was just a waste of their time. In every heart burned the desire to win, to achieve a task never before accomplished. The Lady Warriors were on a mission: to beat the Panthers for the first time in school history.
The first forty-five minutes of the game went uneventfully; both teams attempted to score, but the soccer ball was shuttled around the field like a ping-pong ball, aimlessly with no sense of direction. As they battled against their opponents, the harsh and brutal wind attacked the athletes. They had to win. They had to beat the cold. They had to beat the best team, and they had to get even. Whistle blaring, halftime was declared, and the team trudged back through the icy grass, disappointed. The winter chill was barely felt as their unspoken frustration took over. The team circled together and listened to their coach’s encouragements. The shrill whistle sounded once again, and the team charged back onto the field, feeling the motivation to win, remembering Coach Smith’s last words: “There’s nothing you girls can’t do”.
Jane was inspired and she rushed on the field, playing like a maniac. Suddenly, an ear-splitting crack was heard and for a second, there was silence. Perhaps her excitement blinded all other senses, but Jane only remembered seeing a blur moving in her direction before she collapsed on to the snowy field, head throbbing. Head bowed down in defeat, Jane could not bring herself to look up at the crowd surrounding her. But a solitary clap emanated from the row of spectators, and as she lifted up her tear-streaked face, her eyes locked with those of her optimistic team mates. Unsteadily, Jane stood up and the stadium resounded with cheers.
The game commenced promptly; the clock was ticking with no time to lose. Then, the words, the assertion, that made Jane’s fists clench, a single statement uttered by the rival coach: “That girl’s weak, one charge at her, and she’ll be down again”. That girl was Jane, the offensive player, the unnerving forward, and she was enraged. Stinging pain from where the ball made contact with bare skin was quickly forgotten, even as the ugly red marks remained. The biting wind whipped strands of hair in her face, and Jane’s eyes squinted in the icy coldness. But her mind was defiantly set: she was on a mission to score.
Adrenaline rushed through her bloodstream and her heart pounded rapidly as she rushed down the field. Jane swiftly maneuvered the ball with exact precision, imagining the moment the ball would enter the opponent’s goal. It was amazing how much satisfaction one solitary act could reward a person. One moment the white jersey of the defensive girl was coming at Jane’s way, ready to charge and steal the ball away. At the next instant, the sky was looking quite beautiful, sun shining, as the ball sailed swiftly into the white net. The whistle sounded shrilly and the multitude of onlookers erupted with excitement, the Warriors had defied an age old tradition, defeating the long-standing champions. The accomplishment, the pain-it made Jane triumphant that day. Against the odds, the underdog emerged victorious on the battlefield.