The Game in Question

            St. Francis Borgia’s number 7, Sydney Castelli, is sprinting down the right sideline with a Hannibal High School defender hot on her trail. She gets closer and closer to the end line trying to find a pass to her fellow teammates. Finally, only five yards away from dribbling straight out of bounds, she gets a cross off.

The ball flies through the air as if it were an airplane taking off from her right foot and preparing to land right at the center of the eighteen-yard box. As the ball drops so does number 7.

            My senior year of high school soccer was supposed to be the most memorable year yet; little did I know it had a different plan for me. I had some trouble at the beginning of the season causing me to miss the first four games, but that’s a story for a different time. As soon as I was able to start practicing again and playing in games, I started to get my soccer groove back. I was very fortunate that my coaches believed in me to play all 90 minutes of a game. Playing 90 straight minutes of a game is very tiring, but continuously doing it makes it become a little easier each time.

            The season flew by. Game after game. Practice after practice. Win and loss. Missed shots and more. My senior season was coming to an end faster than I had expected. As the time flew by, districts became my team’s main focus.

            First round of districts we were up against Hannibal High School. This was supposed to be an easy win but turned out to be a tough battle. The game started and we were down by one. We scored they scored we scored, and they scored again. This was the end of the back-and-forth battle. Once we hit our third goal, we were untouchable. Halftime came around, a full 45 minutes had gone by, and we were up 4-3. The game was not yet over. There was another 45 minutes to go. It was like my team had been reenergized by the Energizer Bunny in the second half.

            I had now been playing my heart out for 60 minutes. By this point my team had scored another goal. I had now played 70 minutes and I was tired, but I knew that there was only 20 more minutes to go until we were official into the finals of districts. That meant that I couldn’t give up, not even for a second. I was determined to get to the finals, so I was willing to leave my blood, sweat, and especially my tears out on that field.

            At the 80-minute mark we were up 7-3 and we weren’t going to let up anytime soon. My team was putting in work, so I was putting in my max effort. Around the 85-minute mark I had won the ball from the other team around midfield. I took off down the sideline pushing my legs to their limit. The closer I got to the end line the harder it became to breathe. Finally, I crossed the ball knowing that it could be our last chance at getting a final goal. As soon as the ball left my foot a pain struck me in my chest. The ball and I hit the ground simultaneously. The focus was clearly on the ball while I was crying on the ground in the corner.

            I was able to crawl off the field after my coaches’ eyes caught mine. They ran to me with great concern. I was barely off the field, and I felt as though I was paralyzed by pain. I couldn’t take a breath without feeling like my chest was collapsing in. Coaches, athletic trainers, and athletic directors swarmed me and analyzed me. Every single one telling me to breathe; the only issue was that I physically couldn’t breathe.

            The athletic director drove me out on his golfcart to my parents’ car where they rushed me to the hospital. Only one of my parents were allowed to come back with me; thank you corona. I had to get X-rays, a CAT scan, and blood work done. After multiple doctors looked at all these tests they came back and asked to get another sample of my blood so that they could retest it. It was now around 11:00 p.m. and my mom and I were still waiting for some type of conclusion. I was hooked up to all sorts of machines. There were wires attached to my chest, an IV in my arm, a blood pressure monitor wrapped around my arm, and a little red glowing thing on my index finger. Although this was stressful, I couldn’t help myself from pretending to be E.T. phoning home hoping to put my mom’s beautiful loving smile back on her face. As soon as I was done with my impersonation, another doctor walked through the door with yet another machine. This is when I found out that something was seriously wrong.

            They told me that one of my heart enzymes was raised. I had to sit there and watch my mom’s face go blank for one second and then straight to an almost concealed worry. This particular enzyme is what shows if someone has had a heart attack or some sort of heart issue. This was the moment that I was told that I was going to be staying overnight in the hospital to be observed. They proceeded to do an EKG test on my heart and moved me to the cardiovascular unit of the hospital where I was hooked up to even more machines. The only good thing about this was that I could finally get out of my sweaty, smelly, dirty uniform and put on quite a fashionable hospital gown with bright yellow grippy socks. All the nurses and doctors were in awe of me, an eighteen-year-old athlete, being in the cardiovascular unit where only people 70 years old or older were staying. They had set me up to do multiple tests in the morning and woke me up every other hour to take more blood to do tests on. It’s clear that I got practically no sleep that night, but my poor mom got absolutely none do to a semi comfortable chair and endless amounts of worry.

            This night remains the longest most stressful night of my life. After being examined all night long with multiple tests being done on me for hours on end the results were in.

            Inconclusive!

            After all the pain I went through and all the tests and medications I was given, the results came back inconclusive. What does that even mean? Was there some sort of fluke? Had I been imagining not only my pain but this entire experience? After my thoughts raced for a few minutes with all these questions, there was only one thing on my mind: I must get to soccer practice!

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Sydney Castelli

Hey, I'm Sydney! I am a freshman at Stephens College, and I am an education major. I wish to improve my writing skills and decided to upload my essays so that I am able to get feedback.

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