As far as I could remember, it was the most important game of my life - the intramurals football finals. We barely managed to get there after battling it out with rival sections from our batch.
I was in elemenrary back then. It was during those years I grew fond of football. My interest sparked with this game when a friend asked me to fill in for him in one game. After that, I decided to play more, and finally decided to sign up for the class team.
After winning most of our games, and winning the semis, we were set to have a shot at the finals. We knew that our opponents were not going to be that easy. They had a couple of 'star' players in their roster - players who can handle the ball so well, they can pass by you in an instant.
And so, before our two teams met on the day of the finals, we decided to practice after class. We did some drills, practice runs and some shooting in case of tie breakers. As a team, we were not willing to lose without a fight.
During the last few days before the finals, the weather was not as cooperative. We were visited by a typhoon that time. Its winds were not as strong but it dumped a signficant amount of rain. Every afternoon after that, heavy rains fell and made our football field into a pool of mud.
Still, that did not discourage the team to practice. We had our football gear- a pair of football shoes. Unlike an ordinary pair, this pair has studs or spikes underneath, which prevents the player to slide in the mud while running during the game.
Mine was a black pair with red and white stripes. At that time, I already used it for a year. It had thirteen studs underneath.
The day of the finals finally came. It didn't rain that day, but the football field was still a pool of mud. My position was at full-back, the defensive spot nearest the goal keeper. For two halves of the game, I had to prevent the other team from getting a clear shot to our goal.
Running around our football field was a little difficult despite wearing football shoes. For one, the field did not dry up evenly. The are portions where mud became so viscose, when stepped on, your foot tends to sink a little. It is like stepping on quciksand!
After the 1st half of the game, the score was still tied at 0-0. Then, teams will have to switch sides on the field. After the swith, I felt luck was no longer on my side because my spot had the quicksand feel.
Still, that did not prevent me from giving my best. Whenever the opponent tried to make a shot, I desperately tried to block it. I would constantly tell myself to move when the need arises. During the final minutes of the 2nd half, my feet felt cold and my thighs numb. Pain and all, that didn't prevent me from doing what I was supposed to do - to lessen the opponent's chances to score.
Finally, me and my team's efforts have paid out. One of my teammates was able to land a shot. When the referee blew the whistle, the score ended at 1-0. We were the victors.
After we did our high-fives and returning to the bleachers to change, that was when I realized something was amiss. No wonder my feet felt cold during the last part of the game! The entire underneath of my left shoe got removed, while the one on my right shoe is about to be detached. Spikes and all, the detached portion was still out there, buried in the mud.
That was the end of my beloved football shoes.
I had mixed feelings about what had transpired. Sad, because it was also my first pair of football shoes. It was a pair I would always treasure. Happy, because we won the game. Nostalgic, because, I wouldn't have gone far without my pair.
P.S. This is my entry to The Red Shoes story contest.
To get to know more about the contest, please visit http://www.theredshoes.com.ph/ or at Nuffnang Philippines.
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