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Loss or Lost: The melancholy end to a beautiful season

Joey Milano, Contributor

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A second chance is rare to come by. A second chance, when it comes to sports, could be considered nearly impossible. The MHS boys soccer team had another shot to make it on the banner hanging high in the gymnasium. The potential to be a part of history was an honor in and of itself, but to actually have our names up there and show our worth was what the team desired most. Fueled by the painful loss in the exact same championship last year, we were ready to  achieve the outcome we had waited a year for.

Time was the enemy as the second half ended with the score tied 0-0. A scoreless ninety minutes left the crowd going wild heading into overtime. Overtime is what I hated most. The anxiety and fear of not achieving what I wanted left a painful pit in my stomach. The team huddled up as we prepared to finish what we started.

“C’mon boys heads up.” our coach of four years, Mr. Burke, tried his best to change fear into aggression as he continued, “This game is ours! You boys put in the effort for this. You showed up to practice every day for this. You’re standing here with your brothers. Don’t let the man you look at in the mirror down. This game will not be our last together.”  

Without knowing it would be our final game, the team called out in unison, “Chiefs on three! Chiefs on three! One, two, three Chiefs!”

The starting eleven walked on the field as a team but left as a family. In under a minute, our dreams were crushed. It all happened so fast, I was unable to process it. I watched the season roll over the line after an undeserved goal was scored by the opposing team. The referee called a penalty and the game was over.

My emotions quickly changed  as if I were some type of indecisive baby. Frustration surrounding that one call, followed by the anger of the goal, led to jealousy while watching the other team celebrate. The victors ran around with pure excitement like children  wanting to show their parents what they had done. Distant cheers were quickly ignored.

My body fell to the floor. My mind went blank. I was stunned. I am a two-time county finalist. Who wants to be just a finalist?

This loss was different from any other. My senses were forgetting to do their job. I couldn’t hear the crowd cheering. I couldn’t see anything. My eyes filled with tears. I couldn’t feel anything except the pain of the loss. I proceeded to untie my cleats for the last time. The simple task was challenging with shaky hands and blurred vision. I looked up and visually learned what had just occurred, seeing my team with their heads held low in their jerseys, each one of them more emotionless than the next.

The season was over. Playing with my brothers quickly became a part of the past. My cleats were just worn for the last time. My jersey was just a piece of clothing. I just represented my school for the last time. The number on my back was soon to become just a memory. Most importantly, I just kicked a ball around for the last time. Not only was my season over, but my soccer career as a whole was over. That chapter in my life had ended so abruptly.

The bus ride home was silent except for the quiet sobs of each player. The last bus ride was not like the others. No laughs this time. My life had just changed drastically and I couldn’t have been more astonished. This chapter in my life had finally closed. Soccer had been a part of my life for so long and now it was completely over. It was now a childhood bundle of memories. I felt uncertain about the whole situation. My anxiety of finally becoming an adult and leaving behind passions of my youth left me empty.

I still feel the loss each and every day going home at 1:40 and not going to practice; sleeping in on Saturdays and not having to wake up for workouts. Soccer was no longer an everyday event in my life. I missed the practices every day and the games every weekend. I felt like something was missing in my life once we lost. I was lost.

Second chances are a blessing. I will never take a second chance for granted again because my soccer career can only be remembered as regretful. The only positive impact the county final game had on me would be learning the lesson that when you are given the opportunity to make things right, you should take it. As disappointing as the game was to me, it helped me grow as a person. I learned to appreciate the opportunities given to me and most importantly to capitalize when I am given a second chance. Although I will most likely not play the sport again, soccer has molded the person I am today.

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Massapequa High School's chief source of news.
Loss or Lost: The melancholy end to a beautiful season