We lost the game. To an outsider, it might even look like we were beaten handily; one-four is a pretty damning scoreline at the surface level.

But that would mean leaving out the fact that the two girls who played goalkeeper for us during the game were trying the position for the first time, and both played tremendously. That would mean leaving out the incredible effort our defense put in to shut down some of the best players in the region; and the first shot I took this season soaring past the other team’s keeper only to hit the post and ricochet back out; and the beautiful goal that my teammate scored with only five minutes left, that allowed us to hold our heads high after the final whistle.

By the time we scored that goal, our opponents—touted as the best team in the area—were looking tired and run down and on the verge of fear. We, on the other hand, were energized, ready to claw our way back into the match even after already playing more than 70 minutes. Another quarter hour and that game could have ended in a draw.

This morning I woke up with a cough that rattled my lungs and a fever that drenched me in sweat, burning me up from the inside out. It’s clear that I’ll be out of commission for the next few days. But we have more than a week until our next game. I have time to recover and return to training and get myself completely ready for what comes next. I know my place now. All that’s left to do is fill it. ♦