the losing goal

I can’t believe it. My stomach sinks and I feel sick. My body is exhausted from the last 45 minutes of play. I truly gave it my all, pulled every bit of strength from my legs and pushed my brain to focus on our strategies and my eyes to notice every move the other side made. My body has given everything, but it wasn’t enough.

The other team is cheering and slapping each other’s backs, but I don’t even want to look at my teammates. I feel disappointed, frustrated that they didn’t do more to just get the ball back into our possession or to keep it away from our goalie.

Part of me knows that isn’t fair; they gave their all just as much as I did, we were just outplayed by a team who were that little bit swifter on their feet or cleverer in their feints and plays. I know that later we will watch back the footage and pick our performances apart, and that it will strengthen our teamwork next game. But for now I am shattered into pieces on the grass, crushed under cleats into wet mud, angry with myself and exhausted.

This week we were challenged to think about perspective. We were challenged to look at the same photo of a goal and to imagine that moment at the end of a match, either as someone on the winning side or as somebody just defeated. I was given the losers, which felt apt as I’m certain I’ve never scored a goal in my life! I managed to play ultimate frisbee for a year and never scored a single point, but still got a lot out of it.

I found it challenging to imagine the state of mind of a player at this point. I think it was hard to connect to because of my own discomfort with emotions like anger and disappointment. These frequently lead to dissociation when they come up because of how unsafe they feel to me. I don’t feel as though I could control them if I really let myself feel them and I cannot predict what it would be like.

It was valuable to have the opportunity to explore these feelings, even just for a short time, through the writing exercise. It was in an environment where I felt safe and in control, where I could choose when to dip in and out of those feelings. I can see a lot of potential for creative writing to help me with “touching” some of the feelings that usually feel so overwhelming that I simply dissociate.

Photo by Chaos Soccer Gear on Unsplash


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