By Maria Anjo
He sat on the hard bench in front of his locker in the, for now, quiet locker room. His muscles are still a little tense from the light workout he did to warm up for tonight’s game. His body was still warm from his shower he took to get ready. He looked up from the mostly clean tile floor when he heard voices come closer to the door only to fade back away. Looking away as the room was completely silent he closed his eyes. Opening his eyes again as he reached into his locker to grab his dark colored, medium sized, well worn looking duffle bag.
He went over his mental checklist once more, assuring himself that he completed everything in order for him to play. For many weeks he had watched the games of his opponents, studying their every move. Hours spent watching and listing each player’s strengths and weaknesses. Finally it was the week of the game and he was satisfied with his research. The day before the game he packed his bag, going over everything carefully, making sure not to miss a thing. He had packed his bag the day before and got a good night’s sleep.
The next morning he got up and the first thing he did was turn on music to hype himself up for later that night. Dancing and belting along with the songs as he got ready, and thinking about how if his team could see what he was doing now they would poke light fun at him. A couple of hours later he was ready to leave as he was supposed to meet the team at a restaurant two hours before the game. After laughing and joking with his teammates he ordered a plate of spaghetti with a side of garlic bread to have a high calorie meal to have fuel to play later.
Ceasing his thoughts about previous activities earlier that day he breathed in deeply as he grabbed his old worn lucky socks, glad he had packed his back the night before so he didn’t accidentally forget. He looked down with pride as he slid them on, memories of his first game coming back. His first game was very tough, especially with him being new to the team. They came through in the end and won the game. He imagined the good fortune being from the new socks he had bought, the game being the first place he had worn them. After that day he washed them and put them in his safe. The same safe he kept all his important documents in, eager not to lose them, only ever taking them out for a game.
Reaching down he snatched his new barely worn Nike shoes off the ground and put them on his socked feet, tying them on tight. He stood up and began to clean up, when he was done he put the rest of his things in his locker. Pacing back and forth he muttered to himself, again going over his checklist in his head. Walking back over to his locker he got out his phone and began playing his music through his headphones again. Still pacing and occasionally jumping in place to hype himself up. A cold sweat of nervousness washed over him, he stopped pacing and just stood still, the music continuing to play.
He stopped and turned off his music, taking his headphones off and around his neck. Looking down he closed his eyes and just stood there, not moving a muscle. Finally he relaxed the muscles in his shoulders and took in a deep breath. He held it for a minute before letting it out, only to take in another deep breath and hold it. His eyes screwed shut tighter before he let out his breath. Slowly tilting his head up he opened his eyes, looking up at the ceiling, scanning his eyes over it as if he was looking at it for the first time. Continuing to breathe slower and slower to calm himself down he closed his eyes again. When he opened his eyes again he walked over to the bench and sat back down in his spot from earlier. Taking in one last deep breath he looked at the clock, reading that it was only ten minutes until the game. He once again got up and made sure everything was put up and went to find his teammate.
When you’re not reading books, read our newsletter.