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Finnegan Liam Finnegan Professor Bain-Conkin Writing and Rhetoric 19 September 2013 Narrative Essay Pressure makes diamonds!

I will never forget these three words. They had been implanted so deeply in my mind over the last three days of practice that all other thoughts were

pushed aside. We were ready and we knew it. As I neared the bright, warm sun light at the end of the square stadium tunnel, I grew more and more focused on the game at hand. We could not lose! The last scratchy beat of my cleats striking the concrete floor echoed as I stepped onto the field-- Click Clack. The biggest game of my life was about to begin. Pressure makes diamonds, I thought, Pressure makes diamonds! When we broke through the blinding wall of light and took our first step onto the warm, soft turf, we had entered a new world. Cameras flashed and spectators clapped and cheered. If anyone had not felt the pressure before, they did now. Looking up to the top of the partially filled stadium, I felt small. I was small, but part of something much bigger than myself. I looked hesitantly to my teammate at my right and though no words were exchanged, there was no need for words. We smiled, nodded our heads, threw our sticks to the side, pushed each other, and took off for the team warm up lap. For the next 60 minutes there would be no I. For the next 60 minutes a group of young men would do more than wear the same shirt. We came together in the pursuit of one common goal. A goal we had been working toward and anticipating for the last four years. We, proud members of the Varsity Don Bosco Preparatory High School Lacrosse

Finnegan team, had come here to beat our rivals Bergen Catholic. We would not accept anything less than victory.

Time slowed down after we took the field. Staring intently at the referee in anticipation of the opening whistle, I felt a surge of confidence. This is what we had all been working for. The 6 am runs before school, fall ball, winter ball, and summer ball were all in preparation for this moment. My confidence was quickly dashed, however, when Bergen won the faceoff and within seconds put one in the back of the net. Everything happened so quickly. Did they really just score? It was clear they came to fight. The first quarter slipped out of our hands as we entered the second quarter trailing 3-0. We let their only offensive threat work our entire defense and score three times. This had to be stopped. The second quarter went slightly better than the first. Bergen put an additional 4 points on the board, but we managed to decrease our deficit by scoring 5 goals. We maintained possession of the ball and made smarter decisions. Although we had made improvements, we went into the half time talk with our heads down. Our Coach told us Bergens we needed to dominate possession time for the rest of the game. Also, since our defense grew more and more tired every quarter, we had to start using back ups to wear out their midfielders. Our coach then informed us of an unanticipated problem. Tom Prior, the head coach of Bergen, knew all of our defensive plays. He knew when we were going to pressure, throw a double team, and use a zone defense. Their coach knew all of this because he had been our head defensive coach for the past 5 years, but left this year to coach our rivals. How were we supposed to defend our goalie when their offense knew exactly how we were defending him?

Finnegan We spent the next 20 minutes of half time making the appropriate adjustments. We

swapped our calls and made up new ones. If they were going to listen and adjust to our plays, we were going to take advantage and make them run the wrong calls. We went into the third quarter ready to play. After winning the faceoff we possessed the ball on their side of the field for a minute or two. More problems, however, arose when we went back to defense. The alteration to play names backfired and confused our defense more than their offense. The third quarter had been our worst yet; we entered the fourth quarter trailing 14-6. We had dug ourselves into a whole and needed to act quickly if we were going to come back. We needed to score more in the fourth quarter than we had in all of first three quarters combined. We needed a miracle. Coach called time out and had us all come together to talk about how we wanted to move forward. Our captain gathered in and said Listen, boys, we have 12 minutes to score 8 goals. Now we can all go out there, roll over, and forfeit this game, or we can fight. I am going to fight. I am going to play this game as if it is my last. I am going to leave it all on the field. We have worked too hard to lose this game! Pressure makes diamonds, boys! All in! We stormed the field and for the next 12 minutes played the best lacrosse of our lives. We gave up 2 more goals, but scored an astonishing 7. With 30 seconds left, we were trailing 1516. Bergen won the faceoff, called time out, and put in fresh players to run the clock out. When the game resumed our defense put two men on the man with the ball, stripped it, and threw it down field to the attack. With 17 seconds left to get one shot on goal, we all watched attentively to see how the final play would unfold. We had done it before and were confident we could it again. One more goal was all we needed. From behind the goal we ran a trick play. Their defense had no idea where the ball was. From just above goal line extended our right-side-attack-man

Finnegan

took a shot. As the ball ripped off his last shooting string and sailed out from his stick, the entire stadium let out a sigh. It was the ball and the goalie now. This was it. Pressure makes diamonds!

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