The Crowd Roared

       Kara wiped the rivulet of sweat from her cheek. She squinted against the sun. She hated this particular soccer pitch which faced east and west. No matter the time of day, there was always  half of the game where she struggled to see down the field. Kara tensed and then relaxed, trying to keep her body limber as she scuffed a cleat against the turf.

       Her eyes narrow, she rolled her shoulders, keeping herself prepped for that moment when the soccer ball made it past the fullbacks and  then there was only herself and the ball that would matter. Her ball. It was Kara’s private rule. Once that soccer ball made it inside the penalty box it was hers.

Pulled from her musing, she scowled and flexed her fingers. The roar of the crowd warned her of the other teams’ breakaway long before the two forwards sprung free of the pack and began to head up field towards her. The soccer ball twitching back and forth at they played it between themselves, showing off for the crowd. Her defense had been left in the dust, dim figures outside Kara’s interest now, as they lumbered along behind the two speed freaks.

Kara’s instincts took over, shifting eagerly from foot to foot, gauging the best place to move into to narrow the open angle of the goal line behind her. Picking her spot, she made a mental note of it, while watching that leather orb flash back and forth across the green as it was moved towards her.

       Concentration narrowed her focus, she could hear nothing but the tap of cleats against the turf, the feel of her hamstrings as she crouched. The warm heat of the sun on her face, the tingle she always got in her hands when she readied herself to save the day.


Springing out her crouch, she slid belly forward into the grass. Both arms swinging wide, she roped the ball mid-pass into her chest and rolled over it protectively. The smell of peat rose in her nostrils.

   The crowd roared again.


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Filed under Short Stories by Claudia Lane

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