I awoke to the beeping of my alarm clock with butterflies in my stomach and the mindset of ‘game day’. Reluctantly rolling out of my warm, cotton sheets and into the chilly morning air, I threw on a pair of old soccer sweats and my hair into a messy bun, and out the door, I went.
Running through the rain, I hopped into my car and instantly cranked the heat dial to HIGH, and with cold hands, started the car. With the occasional direction from my GPS, I drove through the small town of Otego with rain pouring and leaves dancing from the trees through the air, and Bon Iver’s voice playing from the radio.
Two right turns, and through many puddles, I had reached my destination. Pulling in right after my fellow teammates, the rain had turned into huge snowflakes, wet and heavy, falling from the sky. A cold, rainy day had turned into a beautiful snow sparkling scene.
After watching the snow for a few moments, I made my way up the steps and inside the McCoy’s log cabin. I was instantly enveloped in the aroma of breakfast and surrounded by a cozy feeling room. Pancakes, bacon, sausage, fresh biscuits, and many more smells instantly made my stomach growl and my mouth water.
The snow falling outside, the smell of delicious food and the chatter of the rest of my teammates around the table only built my excitement for later that day. Surrounded by lots of laughter and loud conversation, I realized just how lucky I was.
I had a team that was not only talented, but these girls became a kind of family to me.
In the past, our teams had talent but always lacked chemistry. Someone was always fighting and it affected the way we played together. This year, our team is a totally different story. We’ve become incredibly close, hanging out together constantly even though we see each other every day for practice. We laugh a lot, and by a lot I mean I don’t think we ever stop. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of girls to spend my final season of playing high school soccer with.
I made my way through the living room and into the kitchen. The home had wooden walls and a rustic country design that made you instantly feel at home. It gave me the feeling of wanting to curl up on the couch with my favorite book and a cup of tea.
It was comfortable with its light wooden floors and dark wooden walls, and the plaid, quilt tablecloth under my arms. From the table, I could watch the snow falling through the glass doors that overlooked the rest of the hill. As I made my way through the line of food displayed along the counter inside shiny silver tins, the combination of smells was overwhelming. I took as much as my plate could handle and sat at the table with the rest of the girls.
There was an anxious buzz in the air, everyone getting ready to play. The feeling I have on game day is one of the best feelings a person can experience. I get nervous, but an excited kind of nervous. I become totally focused on the game and all the outcomes that could possibly happen, whether it's six hours before kick off or five minutes.
The game consumes my head and I become immune to anything else. This is what each and every one of us was feeling as we sat around the table, knowing that this game mattered more than any we had ever played.
It was do or die. If we lost, that was the end, and if we won we moved on, one step closer to section finals. We all wanted to win more than anything and hoped that would be the outcome.
Sadly, we got the call that our game had been canceled due to the weather, the rain leaving puddles all over our field. The vibe in the room went from serious and focused to disappointed. We were all sad we wouldn’t get to play that day, but knew we would be playing only two days later.
Instead, we began scheming and planning for the game, using our time wisely to make sure none of us were unprepared for Monday. We soon began joking and having a good time now that the seriousness had vanished.
The room was enveloped in chatter and laughter, everyone in there own conversations. The snow was still falling, leaving a thin white blanket across the ground only to be melted away later on. Girls began to make there way back up to the counter for seconds, knowing a full stomach would no longer slow them down for the game.
Soon, one by one, teammates began to leave for home. As the people decreased, so did the volume of the room. It became quieter, and the breakfast smells had started to vanish, leaving the smell of wet shoes and pine in its place.
I soon left as well, hugging those who remained goodbye and running back through the rain into my car. It was colder inside than it had been that morning, and I cranked the heat up as high as it could go.
As I drove back home, I thought about how lucky I had gotten to be given a team as great as this one.
With the whoosh of windshield wipers and the ping of rain on the roof, I pulled in my driveway and entered my home, only to be hit with the smell of breakfast all over again.