"Alright girls," Pinky yelled out at the line of sweaty soccer players standing at attention in front of him. He eyed each and every one of us, his gaze lingering on me for a second more than the others. I smiled after he moved on, my heart pounding through my chest, about to tear itself out and fall to the ground. It was time. Pinky, the assistant coach was about to announce the voting for Captain.
"You've trained long and hard these past few weeks and over the summer. I'm very proud of the dedication of the team. We have the skills, the gall. We have the strength and effort. We are just missing one thing. And that is a captain." All the girls erupted into hushed whispers, leaning over to one another and announcing their favorites. Shelby nudged my arm and I looked over at her gleaming face. I knew mine must look the same. Pinky cleared his throat and everyone was quiet. Then he continued his speech, pacing back and forth.
"So on Friday, that's in two days, I want you all to have an idea of who you are voting for. It must be an eighth grader, a girl who shows promise and responsibility. Someone who you know will represent you graciously. Got it?" I nodded, feeling his words directed to me. The rest of the girls jogged up the hill to the gymnasium and back to the locker room. Jordan, Shelby and Grace stayed behind with me and we played some two on two.
"So, you excited for Friday?" I panted, dodging Grace and kicking the ball into the side pocket of the goal. She laughed as it flew into the netting.
"I guess, but everyone knows you're going to win Mackenzie." This made me feel all warm inside, but I tried not to show it.
"Not true. You are just as good a player as me Grace. All of you are," I added turning to face them.
"Yeah right," Jordan guffawed while grabbing an extra ball. We all padded back into postition and I heard the door close to the gym. Everyone else must have been inside already.
"No, really. You guys are great."
"Whatever," Shelby grunted, booting the soccer ball into the top right corner of the net. The shot was fantastic, but I couldn't help but hear the sarcastic hint in her voice.