Standing Room Only

A World of Short Stories


“It doesn’t count if you’re already planning your defeat,” he whispered to me.  He had come out of his chair and to the sideline. 

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I responded.  “I never plan to lose.” 

“Then maybe you should start trying to actually win,” Sam whispered as he backed up to the line of other spectators.   

I had always told myself that winning wasn’t everything.  That I would be fine not coming in first place.  I always wanted to try my hardest, but there were times when I really didn’t care.  Like today.  If I won today, I wouldn’t be able to go to the art competition I entered next weekend.  The competition my father didn’t knew about because I knew he wouldn’t let me go.  How could I get out of this soccer game with my plan intact?  Without my father knowing I didn’t really want to win? 

I knew that soccer wasn’t going to take me anywhere, but I was beginning to get an idea that maybe art would.  Mrs. Thompson let me keep all my projects and supplies in the art room after I told her enough of my home life to understand what life was like for me.  I had to go next weekend, it might be my only chance for a college scholarship.  I ran down the field toward the goal, and not for the first time, I wished I would actually break my leg. 

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