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Janice Wu

She loved soccer. Practice after practice, she eagerly gave everything she had in hopes that she would get to play. She worked her legs off doing corner kicks, goal kicks, running up and down hills, and strenuous, idiotic calf-raises with people on her back. Whatever the coach ordered, she did. Never did she miss a game, for she decided to hang in there.

Through the freezing-rainy and hot-blistering games, she was determined to give it everything and more. But now she sits on the bench and patiently awaits the call of her name. She would do anything to hear her name followed by a "run." That was the way the coach warmed up members of the team and implied that they would go in soon. This is the last game of the season, she thought, I'm bound to go in today. Kicking the spiky grass, her shoulders slouched forward, and she placed her chin on top of her hands.

Trying to figure out what moves bamboozled the opposing team, she watched the game intently and picked up strategies. Heaving a gloomy sigh, she shut her eyes and envisioned herself scoring a goal and breaking a tie. She could see herself being hoisted on shoulders by all the players. At all the games this hopeful athlete thawed out the bench for team members and hardly ever played. Finally her name was called, breaking off her thoughts. "Run," he instructed her. Each and every player awarded pats on the back, genuine smiles, and thumbs up to her, boosting her self-confidence. The next thing she knew, she was running back and forth grinning from ear to ear.

All of a sudden her spirits were as light as a feather. Inhaling the familiar scent of freshly-cut grass, this scent became new to her and invigorated her. I'm going in she squealed to herself. The coach's eyes were still affixed on the game, but she kept jogging across the sidelines, stopping every so often to stretch. It seemed like hours, but it was minutes before her name was called again.

She stood steadfastly by the coach, her beat pulsating so intensely, she was certain everyone within a mile could hear. The whistle was blown, and the coach gave her a shove onto the field. The instant she got into her position, the buzzer sounded. The drone reverberated in her ears, and she clung to her uniform for dear life. As she felt a sledgehammer shatter her heart into pieces and her throat constrict, a crestfallen tear slid from the corner of her eye.

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