This story was written for Pensitivity 101’s Three Things Challenge #341
Today’s threes Prompt’s are: Play, Sorry, Final
A Penalty Sting in the Tale
This was it; ninety minutes of solid football play time, plus another thirty minutes extra time had failed to separate the Broadland City U21 and Swansea U21 teams. They’d battled hard and neither team wanted to lose this the final match to decide the championship trophy.
Tied at two goals apiece, it had come down to a penalty shoot-out. One by one the players took turns to take kicks from the spot. Goalkeepers dived and the crowd roared. Then it was four goals each with one ball to play.
Captain Samuel Reed of Broadland City stepped-up and placed the ball on the white spot. Taking deep breaths, he absorbed the energy of the cheering crowd and calmed his thrumming heart.
“You got this, Sam!” yelled defender Blake.
“Course he has!” agreed striker Ronnie thumping his chest and saluting.
The referee wasn’t ready. He’d already told some Swansea players off for bad language and now he was chatting with the remonstrating rangy form of Lyle Jefferson the Swansea goalkeeper.
Samuel returned a salute to his team and smoothed his stylish brown hair. He knew the Swansea team were just trying to time waste and get into his head. Instead of being affected, he remained unfazed and as calm as he could manage. He gazed around at the fans; his vision came upon the dugout. There in the forefront was Manager Harold Wilson.
“Stay calm and think smart.” Was the message conveyed by him pointing to his temple and pressing a palm down toward the grass pitch.
Samuel nodded, his eyes rising to the executive box and a certain someone. Looking excited and nervous in her football shirt was Holly Ward. Holly gave him a reason to play again after an ankle injury almost stole his career. She was the only reason he had this all-important penalty to take now. The ball was going in the back of the net for her.
Holly was jumping about in suspense causing her yellow and green pigtails to dance around her head.
Still, the referee was dealing with the goalkeeper
Samuel ignored the interruption. He raised a finger, thumped his heart and pointed to Holly. ‘I love you!’ in any language.
She repeated the gesture and blew him a kiss.
“Sorry about all the disruptions, lad. You ready to go?” asked the referee.
“Yeah – let’s finish this!” Samuel replied setting his face with calm determination. He checked the ball and counted his steps backwards.
The referee blew the whistle.
Samuel felt a surge of adrenaline and bounded toward the ball. He raised his foot to strike, saw the keeper grab his neck in a panic, and ran past the ball. By the time he reached the goalmouth, Lyle was on the grass gasping for breath.
“What happened, man?” Samuel asked dropping beside him.
“Wa-sp.” The goalkeeper could barely breathe.
Samuel knew exactly what that meant thanks to his cousin being severely allergic to wasps and bees. “Ref! Get a trainer now. We need an epi-pen as fast as possible. He’s been stung by a wasp and is going into anaphylactic shock!”
“Roger that!” the referee began relaying information over his earpiece.
“Sorry, you got stung, mate. I need you to stay with me, okay.” Samuel saw the doughnut-shaped swelling and mass of red skin on his neck confirming the wasp sting. He rolled Lyle into the recovery position while watching for him to go into shock.
“I’m he-re. Sorry, I ruined your winning ki-ck.” Lyle managed.
“You think I was going to score then, hey?” Samuel said with a smile.
“Yo-u have an an-gel in the st-and. You ca-n’t miss.”
Samuel smiled toward Holly in the stand. “I can’t dis— Shit!”
Lyle convulsed, his body going into shock. Within a heartbeat, his breathing had stopped.
Samuel shoved him onto his back, opened his airway and began chest compressions as trainers arrived around him. “What took you so long!” Samuel remarked.
“Sorry, we don’t carry epi-pens in the kits,” said Broadland’s trainer Greg Charlton.
Samuel continued his chest compressions as he watched him whip the yellow tip of a plastic tube. He slipped a blue and white auto-injector from it and plunge the needle into the goalkeeper’s thigh. Samuel knew it contained epinephrine to counter the anaphylactic shock.
“Allow us,” said a green garb wearing St John’s Ambulance member taking over as his teammate wired Lyle to the stadium’s defibrillator machine.
Samuel stood up and shook his head as he wandered toward his team. He, never wanted things to go this way. Winning anything wasn’t worth somebody potentially dying.
“What happened?” asked Blake.
“Wasp sting.” Samuel took a bottle of water from a trainer’s tray.
“Now, what?” asked Shane a central midfielder.
“Well, it depends on what Swansea want to do. They have a replacement keeper, so they can play him to finish the game. I’m sure Harold won’t object under the circumstances.” Samuel looked toward the goal. He was relieved to see Lyle was awake. He was pale and groggy, but at least the epinephrine had saved him.
Almost fifteen minutes later, the whistle blew sending the fans into rapturous cheers. Samuel ran up to the ball and scythed it into the back of the net. He’d won the U21 Championship trophy for his elated team. Samuel loved winning matches and trophies, the best bit for him was always getting to hug Holly and be with his friends and family after the match. That’s why for him, the best of the day was knowing Lyle would recover and get to be with his family again too.
I didn’t have a story for this prompt today and then this happened …
Yup a wasp nailed me right in the side of the knee! That hurt but thank you for the inspiration you rotten little git!
Have a great day!