Closing Seconds | Teen Ink

Closing Seconds MAG

By Anonymous

   Face off. Forty-four seconds left to play. All tied up. Legs are shaking ... Arms are tired ... Head is aching. This is what the entire season comes down to. All those wind-sprints, all the push-ups, all the planning, all the hard work comes down to these 44 seconds of hockey. Tim's taking the draw, with John and Mark on each side. I'm on defense with Mike. We're ready ... I hope. A sickening feeling of nervousness is in each of our stomachs. The crowd's cheers are blocked out. The coaches screams cannot be heard. All that is in focus is ten players and one puck.

Shivering tensely, I grow impatient. What is taking those refs so long? I back out away from the circle and take a few strides to keep the legs loose. Checking the opposition, I evaluate what it would be like on "the other side." For one thing, there wouldn't be that five ton weight beating down on our shoulders now if we were the favorite in this game. I look into the stands to bide time and forget how nervous I am. All there is to see is a palette of colors, no faces being a part of them. Everything outside of that ice surface is just a blur.

I quickly look down at the ice, trying to concentrate. That once smooth, glassy surface is now rough because of the constant scratching of blades. The team comes together to plan our strategy as the refs advance toward the center. I wanted to say some reassuring words to my fellow teammates, but I am too tense to show my support at this moment.

I bang my stick to create some enthusiasm. Tim backs out to see if we are in position. In a flash, the puck is dropped and all those "butterflies" just evaporate. It is time to play hockey. Tim won the draw with Mike and the puck is quickly advanced up the ice. Forty seconds.

John carries it over the blue line. Relentlessly I plan out my positioning options in my head, so that I may situate myself in the best possible location for a scoring opportunity.

Back and forth I move and cross, as the puck is being controlled in the corner. My arms are flexed, ready for any possibility in which the puck might come in my vicinity. Twenty-five seconds.

Mark fights for the puck with the enemy along the left boards where I am closely positioned. As I watch the battle, I see the determination and tenacity in each player's face. Both refuse to give in to the other. They will not stop until their respective team obtains possession. No matter how tired they are, they will not lose.

Suddenly, the puck squirts loose to the blue line where I am stationed. Ten seconds. As I handle the black, circular object, I have no thoughts lurking in my head. I am what they call "in the zone." Stepping to the open spot, I fire the puck on net. Save! Rebound! Five seconds.

The puck lingers around the net for what seems eternity. Bodies are pushing, falling, stumbling across the ice ... and the puck just lies there. All ten players charge the net. As I battle for the puck, I notice a stick make contact with the puck and soar over the goal tender's shoulder into the net. The next thing I know, bodies are jumping on to of me, and I hear shouts, exclaiming, "Brian, you did it! Brian, you did it!" l

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