How many choices does one get until it’s all over? My mom always looked at the world with open eyes. She believed that every chance was a gift/ opportunity to either set things right or to do even better than your first chance.
I’ve been given a lot of chances since my mother’s passing and I’ve ignored every single one of them. Until now. The team is going to give me a hard time and I was willing to take it.
I haven’t seen or spoken to my father, since last night. Mostly because he was out again before I was even up and a part of me was relieved only because I didn’t know what to say and I’m not sure if that barrier is down between us.
“Hey, Adams!” I raised my head and found Brandon walking towards me, carrying my hockey gear. “My own special chauffeur." I teased him. "Haha." He said dryly. "I was going to get it from you."
"But, then you got distracted." My mouth twitched. "You know me too well." He handed me my gear while giving me a curious look. "You nervous?" I pulled up my shoulders. "Should I be?" He looked heavenward. "No, gee. I don't know." I chuckled at his sarcasm
"I'm not nervous more curious. I know that the girls are going to give me hell." I crouched down to get my knee guard from my bag, I slipped it on over my knee and caught Brandon looking at me. "Just to protect my knee in case. Before I went into "retirement" I pulled a ligament in my knee." He nodded his eyes taking me in.
"It's kinda weird having you dressed up in workout clothes." I rolled my eyes at him as I got back up. "Than the usual ripped skinny jeans and your -bad-girl-skater-girl look." He then surprised me when he cupped the side of my face to touch my piercings. "Definitely badass." He commented.
"What else would I be?" He chuckled and stepped back. "And I guess your mom approved?" He asked. I smiled at raw images of her having words of my choice of clothing, but not once have she wanted me to change. "It's hard to be out here without her." I admitted. "She always believed in me. In her eyes, I was the best. She always got so upset if the coach benched me." I chuckled to myself. "Any yellow card, she got really upset. In the end, the referees banned her from my games, but you think she listened?"
For a small, skinny woman she was strong. She gave everyone hell when they messed with her family. "I imagine her being stubborn."
"Very." I agreed.
"I can see her through you."
"Are you calling me stubborn, Hills?"
"How long has it took us to get you here?" He asked.
"And yet, here we are."
"After one hell of a ride." I was stubborn in the beginning, only because I was lost and didn't believe that my mom will approve of me moving on without her. People had to remind me that she wanted me to bloom. "Your team is here." Brandon suddenly said. I turned to look at the field where they were slowly showing up.
"Are you ready?" He asked.
"Let's go find out, shall we?" I picked up my hockey stick. "Please don't kill anyone on your first day." He joked. "Only if they behave." I left him laughing and walked up to my new team members.
A few of the girls welcomed me with sincere smiles while the rest just looked me over and giving me a sign that they didn't think that I belonged here. If they only knew.
"Ah, the first of the newbies to show up." Casey remarked. Have I mentioned that I didn't really like her attitude? Soon, I was being surrounded by Briana and Nicole. They were trying to scare me off, thinking that I will run away and cry to mommy.
"What are you doing here?" I wanted to answer that I'm here to play hockey, but I sensed she meant something else. She didn't think that I was able to play hockey. Shocker.
I held my emotions and eyes passive. I stared her down. "I can ask you the same question." She looked startled with my question. Her mouth twisted. "I'm the captain." She answered. "I can't say the same about you. You're on the bench where you belong." I nodded at her. "That's true. I'm here when someone gets hurt and I have to take their place." She took a step forward, invading my personal space as she held her face inches away from mine.
"No one gets hurt on my watch." She sneered. Hmm. "We don't need you on this team or anyone else for that matter." She meant me and the other two newbies. "I can disagree with that." We looked at the coach. She was walking towards us carrying uniforms.
"When last have this team tasted victory?" She asked looking at the girls. "When last have our team not felt humiliated?" No one said a word. "You might want to keep your judgment to yourself because there is a little you know about Sasha." Excuse me, what?
Oh, shit. My record. The Colleges scouting me. My old high school tried to get me to try-out. She knew all this time.
My eyes pleaded her not to say a word. "We don't need them, we can do this without them." The whole team agreed with her. "Can you guarantee me a win this weekend?" She asked. All the girls just looked at her. "Exactly, not one of you can guarantee me a hundred percent win. In my eyes, we need them." She then handed us our uniforms. I didn't say a word when she handed me mine.
"What I've learned is that you can play all three positions." She said. I nodded. "You will be my Centre forward." She handed me a jersey with the letters CF printed on the back. I heard everyone gasp. I looked up and noticed a muscle in Casey's jaw twitching. Oh, frack. It is her position, I'm her replacement.
"You haven't even seen me play." I told the coach. How can she put me in a position that she doesn't even know that I can handle?
"I've learned that you were in that position for three years and you were the school's best hockey player. Got every single College scouting for you. They also told me that you turned them down every time." She spoke softly so that the rest of the team didn't hear.
"And now suddenly you are playing again."
"You want me to get this team into the winning streak, don't you?" I asked her. "If that is your plan then I'm leaving because you can't put faith in a person that you know nothing about. I still have to prove myself to each and every one of them. Earn their trust and respect. And by doing this." I held up my shirt. "You are feeding me to the pigs." She looked at me with a smile on her face.
"You are as they said." I looked at her with a quirked brow. "I need you on this team, Adams. Not only because I believe you can help us win, but I believe that you can give these girls some hope and motivate them."
"I doubt that."
"Look at them. Do you think that they are inspired?"
"Isn't that your job?"
"I can only lead them to the field and teach them what I know but, without passion and motivation there is nothing more I can do."
"You believe it. You dream it. You will achieve it." I muttered my mother's words. "I just want to play so that the Colleges can scout me again and have a shot at College." She nodded. "So, does all of them." She walked off, calling everyone for warm-ups. I pulled my jersey over my head and went along. I will give it my all, play harder than any of them just so, I too can have a shot.
"Looks like the girls wanted to eat you alive." Brandon said waiting for me at the bleachers. "She was all over in my face." I glanced over my shoulder and caught Casey glaring at me. "I also noticed that you were holding back." He said taking the hockey stick from me and placing it into its bag.
"Why are you playing it safe?" He asked standing back up. "Your mom wasn't lying when she said that you are the best. You got this, Adams." I shook my head at him disbelief. For a moment I wished that I can reach out and kiss him.
"Casey worked hard to be here if I step in and use my abilities. I will replace her." He frowned. "I'm her replacement." He nodded and then his eyes widened. "So, if you perform better than her. She is off the team and you take her spot."
"Bingo." I know first hand what it feels like when someone steps on your toes. "Well, they need a new leader. Casey, really only thinks about herself. I'm not a know it all, but you got to inspire your team and then only will they win." I nodded.
"And, Angel if that is your call then there is nothing you can do about it."