By LAWRENCE XU
Ever since his mother signed him up for a soccer team at the age of six, Kace has been in love with the sport. After moving to China, he found every opportunity to play whether it was during lunch, with friends over the weekend, or even simply playing against the wall; he enjoyed it in every form. It wasn’t until fourth grade that he began to get tired of the daily random scrimmages. Although it happened at a young age, Kace missed the intensity of team plays, the real games. He tried forming some small teams with his classmates but it never worked out.
After Kace entered middle school, the sense of boredom with the scrimmages increased. It was to the point where he stopped playing soccer during lunch recesses despite being a big fan of it. He had a whole blank year until 8th grade. New teachers came as older teachers retired or switched jobs. Among all was the new PE teacher Luke. He brought the idea of sport teams from the US, and chose a few as the school had a limited number of people. Kace immediately signed up for the soccer team as he had dreamt of playing on a proper team with coaches for many years.
Everything was a whole new experience to Kace. There were proper scheduled practice everyday, intense exercising. Kace’s excitement only lasted a few days. A week later he began to complain about how tired it was.
After three weeks of practice, Kace had his first team scrimmage with another school. Never having played against a well-trained team, Kace thought they would perform well. The team ended up losing by 13 points. It was a big blow for Kace and his team, but it also motivated them to train harder. Over the course of three months, his team improved drastically. Kace slowly rose up and became the best player on the team. Kace and his four best friends on the team took over as the top players on the team. From a 13 points difference to now two or three points difference, they ended the season with great improvement and looked forward to playing well in the upcoming league tournament.
The night before the tournament, Kace had a terrible stomachache. His mother insisted that he stayed home but Kace insisted on going to the tournament.
Kace’s team started with high hopes and won its first game despite Kace often making mistakes due to the sickness. They rallied their spirit for the next few games, only to be crushed by the same school with the same score difference. On the second to last game, Kace could not hold his feelings anymore, expressing unsportsmanlike behaviors with a mixture of anger and woe . Coach Luke sent him off, saying that if he didn’t calm down, he’d be done for the season.
Kace valued this season greatly. It was his first time on a team, and his last time playing soccer was casual, playing with his closest friends. He would not let go of the last chance of playing. After lunch break, Kace was able to calm down and gave it all out and won his last game of middle school.
It was a season of joy, regrets, with sweat and tears. Kace wished the team good luck next year, and looked forward to starting his career in sports in the future on the day of his graduation.