Thursday, February 23, 2012



The scorching sun blazed down on the lush green turf of the hockey arena at the Dubai Sports City. Tiredness filled the air as the final whistle of our semi-final game blew off and our final scores tied. There it was my worst night mare, there was no running away from it, as we now has approached the tie-breakers. Five penalties awarded to each team as we prepared for this gruesome battle. I was on a highway to hell.

Minutes passed by. Four strokes already taken by each team. Two saves. Two missed. Two converted by each team. Again it was back to the tie. The final penalty was first to be taken by my opponent. He walks confidently to the penalty spot. It all falls in perfect sequence. He places the ball at the spot, gets ready, whistle blows off, he shoots, and he scores. The crowds go wild with excitement as he proudly walks back to his entourage. And then something hit me like a sledge hammer. The blow was so crackling that it almost knocked me out cold. Oh yeah! It was my worst fear, pressure. Not the pressure that I and my friends experienced at our Industrial visit to Hyderabad but yes I am talking about peer pressure. But so what if it was standing right in front of me? I pick up my lethal weapon, which was my hockey stick and walked with a whole new confidence towards my stage. But then I soon realized that my enemy was closely following me. I reached the place, picked up the ball and carefully placed it at the spot as I took a glimpse of the goalie’s face. He gave me that expression as if he wanted to slit my throat the very next minute. But I, have played in the goal for the state team didn’t pay much head but was annoyed that he robbed my expression. Even though the crowds grew in screams and shouts, it was as if a wall blocked them from me. It was just me, the ball and the thought of finding the back of the net. I got prepared but then again the pressure of the entire team failing to move ahead by me missing this only opportunity brought a shiver to my spine. I looked at the ball and then looked up and then I was confused. I looked at the left corner board and then at the right. I could not decide which side to shoot. Left? Right? Left? Right? And then the whistle blows off. I could feel the blood pump through my arms as my sweaty hands gripped the stick and swiped the ball with all their might. The ball flicked as I watched it slowly leave the stick. And there, I fell prey to my enemy. Pressure!!! The ball traveled straight, hit the heavy padding on the goalie’s chest and fell dead to the ground. The goalie didn’t move a muscle. It was as if that was the end of my life. My lethal weapon seemed to be as just my hockey stick. Everything was over and pressure had claimed victory once again.

Nigel D’souza
Roll No. 08

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