I was just sitting there with my head slouched on my hand. Waiting for it to finish but even then it’s not over. My brother had beaten yet another team in soccer. The car trip was the worst. Everyone congratulating him, it just wouldn’t stop, while I was just sitting there hunched in the corner.
On my way out of the car my brother, Baxter, slammed the door in my face, beaming at me through the window. I was trailing my family to the front door, running upstairs whilst they were at the table praising my brother. I slammed my bedroom door shut, and loafed on my bed with my face in a pillow. I slipped downstairs and peeked around the corner, seeing my mum and dad negotiating.
“Don’t you think Gregory doesn’t like soccer, he has been acting hostile when coming from Baxter and his games?”
“Not at all, I think he loves it, in my opinion” my dad assumed ripping the last bit of meat of his BBQ ribs.
“Well he hasn’t been passionate in his games. His coach…” I charged in rudely interrupting my mother in mid-sentence.
“May I please go to Zachary’s house?” I tried to say in a polite voice.
“Of course” / “NO!” My mum and dad said at the same time. I stood there awkwardly raising an eyebrow, waiting for a response. My mum quickly filled the gap, saying “Sure, I’ll drive you there, come on, and get your gear” before dad could say anything.
At Zachary’s house he greeted and invited me in. We went into the backyard, he kicked a soccer ball to me and I kicked it in the other direction signifying that I didn’t want to play soccer.
“Hey, do you want to play ten-…, oh never mind, let’s just go and play on the computer”
I put a face with a not so happy expression and just said “Fine.”
I stayed there for a long time, hours passing by only being half-amused, with the endless pointless fail compilations and online games. When I finally got home the smell of pizza filled the room and my frown turned into a smile.
* * *
At the dinner table I was listening to my dad and brother complimenting each other.
“You know that goal that you got won the team the game, and I think you should get more credit for it.” My dad explained
“Nah I think I’ve got enough, maybe I should give my team a go at being good at the sport” My Brother said chuckling and not soon after my dad joined as well.
I was biting my tongue and I’d had enough!
“I hate soccer; I’m not good at it! I never will be good at it, and I never wanted to do it! This is what the dinner table is like; soccer, soccer and soccer. It’s always about soccer and my brother” I shouted
“I’ve had enough. No soccer for me anymore! I either quit or try a new sport because I’m not dealing with it for any longer.”
After that I calmed down, I just had to let it out.
My dad spat back “What do you mean no soccer, your brother plays it you should too… and anyway, what other sport!?” He hissed “soccer’s the only one that’s worthwhile”
After thatmy anger had rose again.
My mum replied in a sweet voice “Sweetheart, we understand you don’t like it, but what sport do you suppose?”
“Well, all my friends play tennis at school; I suppose that’d be a start.”
My dad interrupted with his mouth full, “If anything you should imitate your brother,” he spat with flecks of half-eaten meat splattering over the table
“Well, could I get a tennis racket and give it a shot?” I replied ignoring his response.
“Of course honey, I’ll book lessons and everything of the sort.” My mum said in a soft voice placing her hand on mine. As she did so I felt the anger from my dad coming my way.
* * *
When I rocked up at school with my flimsy second hand racket, I was already regretting choosing tennis as a sport. For the whole of recess and lunch I hit the ball against the wall whilst my friends played matches upon matches of tennis. I knew my brother had some news to tell at lunch. After school I didn’t even go home, I just stayed there hitting the ball against a wall watching as everyone evaporated from the school ground. When I was in the middle of the excitement of hitting a ball against the wall a car pulled up around the school ground and my mum leaped out of the car her face pale and when she saw me she sighed in relief. When I was in the car my mum on repeating lessons on responsibility when I was just thinking; `I was saved by this woman from the horrors of willingly hitting a BALL against a WALL`.
At the dinner table I could hardly pick up my fork due to my hand covered in blisters and couldn’t walk because of the cramp in my leg. Dumping me on my bed was the best feeling I’d had all day. The second best was being able to dress myself in my baggy pyjamas and tucking myself in for the night.
When I got out of my bed my legs were asleep and I nearly face planted onto the ground. Downstairs on the table, there was a brand new tennis racket and some tennis balls.
“I bought it for you, I hope you like it, and I saw that you got very involved in tennis yesterday” my mum explained. She had even entered me into competition! I was in two minds… Sure encouragement is great… But with my mums amazing argument skills and a whole lot of embarrassment, now I would get to get destroyed in competition!
At recess I continued hitting the ball against the wall, although at lunch one of my friends invited me over. At first I doubted myself, but surprisingly, I won my first game! After school I had my tennis lesson. I was standing in the line waiting for my shot, the teacher was yelling at the others saying do this, do that although they didn’t know how to do it. Then it was my turn, I tried my best and I hit the ball and he suddenly my teacher looked shocked and he just hit me another I hit it again and he had the same so expression from the last, he started saying that was the best hit all night and I awkwardly went to the back of the line. While I was learning something called the `slice` I ended up making the ball spin left, right, down and up. Honestly, when it came to the games at the end it wasn’t only effect but enjoyable watching them trying to hit the ball.
Every afternoon I kept on hitting the ball against the wall, watching it go up and down over and over again, bouncing. In the morning of the competition my mum came to wake me up. She had busted through the door pulling up the blinds and blinding me. I was putting my clothes on and with the abominable mess on my floor I was tripping over it all. I thought `what a great way, to start the day`.
* * *
When I got to the tennis court my infuriating brother had struck again, he had switched my old tennis racket with my new one. So unfortunately, I now had a terrible racket to play with.
When I played some practise matches with some random people it was BAD, REAL BAD. When I went to hit ball, I couldn’t, the racket was too small, and if I luckily hit it would be flying to South Dakota if it wasn’t for the nets. My mum had realised that I didn’t have a suitable racket and we were about to start our game although she came and said in a curious voice; “I see that you don’t have your racket here at the moment”
I replied “Yeah, I had opened my case and my old racket was in there and I literally cannot hit the ball at all”
“Well I shall go get it for you although next time you should have more responsibility” my mum had said
“But it was Baxter!” I quickly said but she didn’t want to listen to it and she had already left to get my racket. I was playing the worst that I have ever played since I’d started and I did not like it, not one bit. The feeling of losing to someone half your size by 3-0 was horrid. But out of the blue the saviour had come (not my mum, the racket) with the most beautiful strings and amazing length I was ready to win. I started to win every point from then on hardly ever losing one I could feel the anger from him coming, but he couldn’t do anything about it and he knew that he had already lost. I won 6-3 and when I got to where my mum and dad where sitting my brother was sitting there, with them and he didn’t look to happy it may have been because I have won or that he had to come. My mum held out her and I sat on her lap and the expression on my dad’s face told me he would be starting to watch another sport on the television.
The games were a whiz after that from winning 6-4 to winning 6-1 and 6-0. During one of the matches I had met someone with a terrible temper. I won against him 6-2 even though he had cheated half the time. At the end of the match he was swearing and smashing his racket against the ground till it broke and I actually thought that that was going to happen with my head next. I was wide-eyed and terrified of him but his mum had to take him home because he no longer had a racket and I gave a little chuckle to a humongous laugh. The hosts of the competition summoned all participants to the lobby on the loudspeaker. They had tallied up the scores and were ready to read out the finalists. My heart was thumping and I held my breath. I found out that I was playing someone twice the size of me and I was in doubt that I was going to win.
When we spun the racket my stomach was lurching with the lunch I had earlier, and I knew it wasn’t because I was hungry; it was because of the sheer stress. I knew one thing, it was the finals and that meant everyone would watch and produce more and more pressure. Being on the tennis court knowing I had one chance to play my cards right was terrifying because one false move meant a loss. I was up 2-0 and I was surprised, and I thought this was an easy task but that thought crept up on me and the match took a dark turn to the scores of 4-4. I was panting, gasping for air, the sun burning on my arms. I couldn’t stop peering over to my family. Half of their thoughts were disappointment, half was amazement. I played my absolute best but he kept helping me back up and knocking me back down. Until the final point, I smashed the ball into oblivion, winning me the match. I gratefully shook my opponents hand and went to my family barely breathing, finally, finally being happy for what I did best. But I wasn’t happy until my brother came up to me and satisfactorily shook my hand and said “Good game little brother” obviously trying to hide his emotions on my accomplishment.
* * *