“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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