Nathan knew how to do one thing. He knew how to step on to 110 yards of freshly mowed grass and remove every outside thought from his brain. For 90 minutes he knew how to not think; or rather, he knew how to only think about one thing: soccer. Not a single distracting thought passed through his mind, and that was what made him so good. It was his ability to separate himself as a soccer player from himself as a person, a student, a son, a brother, and a friend. On the field, in that solace of safety, nothing else existed. He did not hear the fans cheering or announcer’s voice booming. When Nathan stepped on to the field his mind entered a state of pure clarity in which the only thing that existed was soccer.
That was the case until September 3, 2012 at 5:33 pm. For a split second Nathan allowed an outside thought to sneak in to his flawless state of focus. Damn, it’s fucking cold out. That was all it took as #14 of the Carson High Wildcats executed a perfect maradona spin, darted past him, and left Nathan chasing a second behind. What ensued in the following 30 seconds left the Ridgemont Panthers in complete shock, fear, and disarray.
I present to you a fictional short story documenting these 30 seconds in which Jackson, Nathan’s best friend and the top goalkeeper in the state, dives for the ball, miscalculates, and slams his head into the ice cold, metal goal post. In the following 48 hours as he lies motionless in a hospital bed those around him agonize, struggle to cope, and face unbearably hard decisions. Relationships are tested and life as they know it is questioned.
This short story will be reminiscent of works such as Friday Night Lights and The Art of Fielding, where life off the field is just as critical and engaging as moments on the field. Yet in the vast world of sports stories with prominent themes such as perseverance, dedication, and overcoming adversity, this story will present a unique perspective. Themes such as decision-making and guilt will be explored as the characters begin to see how powerful of a role soccer plays in their lives, almost to a negative point of control.
This story will be geared towards an audience of sports fans who can enjoy and relate to the soccer game descriptions and power of sports, yet at the same time it will also have a larger audience in mind. Those who don’t care about sports at all can still engage with the characters and their situation. Despite the high school setting, this story is geared towards a mature audience rather than children or teens. Ideally, it will attract readers in their twenties and older.
As the author of this short story I am an avid sports fan and athlete, I stand at a point in my life where decision-making is of utmost importance, and I have experienced tragedy and loss in areas aside from sports. Molding these three aspects together position me as an insightful and passionate author for this short story.