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Authors: Tracy Richardson

The Field

BOOK: The Field
3.21Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub


Published by Luminis Books
1950 East Greyhound Pass, #18, PMB 280,
Carmel, Indiana, 46033, U.S.A.
Copyright © Tracy Richardson, 2013

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Cover artwork by Alex Katsaropoulos and cover photo courtesy Shutterstock. Cover design by Joanne Riske.

Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-935462-83-5
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-935462-82-8
eBook ISBN: 978-1-935462-84-2
Printed in the United States of America
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

For my children, Alex and Katie, and all of their friends who hang out at our house and provide endless inspiration for my characters. Of course, the names have been changed to protect the innocent. Reid, you know who you are

Also to the memory of Brett Finbloom, who left us too young. His spirit lives on

Early praise for
The Field:

“Readers will appreciate the fast-paced, compelling drama. A good choice for people who hope there's more to space than space.”

Kirkus Reviews

“Tracy Richardson is a worthy heir to Madeleine L'Engle. Richardson's characters intellectually travel beyond ordinary consciousness to delve into concepts of dark energy, collective [un]consciousness and universal energy fields.”

—Rita Kohn,
NUVO Newsweekly

The Field
is a brilliant blend of soccer, science and fiction. True-to-life characters, contemporary environmental issues, and engaging metaphysical principles skirt the edges of science fiction and magical realism in this modern coming-of-age novel.”

—Laurie Gray, award-winning author of
Maybe I Will
Summer Sanctuary

The Field
plunges the reader into the realistic world of high school soccer and the mystical world of the Universal Energy Field—an intriguing combination.”

—Judith L. Roth, author of
Serendipity and Me

More Young Adult titles from Luminis Books:

Maybe I Will
by Laurie Gray

Second Verse
by Jennifer Walkup


“What we call empty space contains an immense background of energy. This vast sea of energy may play a key part in the understanding of the cosmos as a whole. Space, which has so much energy, is full rather than empty. What we perceive through the senses as empty space is actually the plenum, which is the ground for the existence of everything, including ourselves.”

—David Bohm, physicist


sounds outside. I grab my gym bag and water bottle off the kitchen chair.

“Bye, Mom. Will's here.”

“Bye, Eric. Good luck!” Her disembodied voice floats down the stairs.

On the way out the side door, I pick up my soccer ball and dribble it with my feet down the driveway to Will's waiting Taurus. No small feat in flip flops. The car's windows are down and the stereo is up—loud. The A/C doesn't work, but we would still have the windows down to show off our good taste in music. I lob the ball through the back window, toss my gear in behind it and climb into the front. “The new system's totally tight.” I say as I fasten my seatbelt.

“It's cool. Kind of makes up for driving a ‘mom-mobile'.” Will grins as he backs down the driveway.

“What do you mean? You've got your own wheels and it's a sedan. I have to drive the real ‘mom-mobile'—the minivan. So, you ready for tonight?” I ask as I beat in time to the music on the dashboard.

“Yeah, two-a-day practices are brutal in 90 degree heat. I'm glad they're picking the teams tonight. What do you think our chances are?” Will glances over at me.

“Pretty good for Varsity. You're definitely the best defender and I don't think the other keepers are any better than me. We've been playing together so long, they can't break up our defensive unit.” I say and give him a friendly punch on the shoulder. I do feel confident about our chances, but still. It's nerve-wracking to have three days of killer try-outs and not know for sure if you're on the team.

“I hate when they're calling out the names. Makes me sick to my stomach until my name's called.” Will pushes his straight blond hair back from where it hangs over his eyes as he pulls into a parking spot at the field. “Well, good luck.”

We walk over to the field trying to look calm and confident, and sit down to put on our cleats and shin guards before joining the rest of the guys for warm ups. The coaches have been running us all week and tonight is no different. Even after running all summer to stay in shape, I was still gasping and sweating after the first day of tryouts. But I was in better shape than most of the guys—at least I didn't throw up. It's one way the coaches use to weed out players.

After doing a few wind sprints and running drills, they split everyone up into teams—Freshmen, JV and Varsity. Will and I are both in the Varsity group—
so far so good
. We all get one last opportunity to show our stuff before the cuts are made. I'm with the goalkeepers who are all grouped together and will be subbed in so we each get a chance to play.

As a group, the keepers are bigger than the field players. Taller and bulkier. At 6' 2” I'm one of the taller ones. Tall and lean, though. More rangy than bulky. The field players need to be
strong and fast and have incredible endurance to last the whole game. A keeper needs to be quick and explosive to move the instant a ball is shot, tall and strong to cover the whole goal and stop rocket shots, and fearless enough to dive into the air or at an opponent's moving feet without hesitation. I move away from the other keepers to begin focusing my thoughts. I always get a rush of adrenaline before a game or scrimmage and I want to channel it into performance instead of letting it turn into nervousness. I put on my gloves, fastening the Velcro at each wrist, and turn to watch the game.

Will is coming off the field when I get subbed in. We bump fists as he jogs past. He's jacked up and loose—he played great. “Nothing goes in, big guy!” He says. I just nod.

I position myself in the goal. I touch the left side of the goal, then walk to the right side, touch it, and then move to the center and touch the crossbar to orient myself. It's my ritual. I crouch in the center with my knees bent and arms in position to catch a ball. I feel confident, strong—ready. The coach starts the play.

The other team immediately takes control of the ball and the play moves onto my side of the field.
Good. More action for me

The opposing team's striker sends the ball out to his right and his midfielder runs onto it. I move to that side of the goal and my left back covers the front. Our defender is all over the midfielder. I see that the opposing striker has moved into position in front of the goal to take a pass from the midfielder.

“Watch for the cross!” I yell. I've got the near post of the goal covered, coiled and ready to spring and I want my center back to cover the forward.

The midfielder beats my defender and sends a pass through to his forward in front of the goal. I see it coming and leap out to punch the ball clear of the goal before the forward can head it
in. My fist connects with the ball with a satisfying
My center back takes the ball and sends it in a long arc to the other end of the field.

Adrenaline is surging through me and I'm pumped from stopping the cross. Now the play is on the other end of the field. I watch, staying focused on the action.

The other keeper makes a save and quickly punts the ball down the field before my defenders have moved back. The opposing forward runs onto the ball. He takes off, sprinting toward the goal, and beats my defender.

It's a breakaway!
My heart is pounding.
It's just me and him
. The forward is approaching fast.
Should I come out to meet him and dive at his feet or stay big and block the shot?
It's a split-second decision. Make the wrong choice and it's a goal.
A thought flashes into my consciousness. I
where the shot will be.
Left side—DIVE!
I'm off my feet almost before the forward's foot connects for the shot. I feel myself flying through the air, arms reaching. The ball is rocketing toward me. The ball strikes my palms and I push it wide, deflecting it outside of the goal and then I crash to the ground.

I jump up quickly in case the ball is still in play. My team has control of the ball and is moving it down the field. Squinting into the sun, I watch the play. Adrenalin is coursing through my veins.
Total rush!

When I get subbed out I scan the sidelines for Will and jog over to him so we can rehash the play.

Will smacks me on the back. “You stuffed him!” Will's hair is dark with sweat, his face glistening and gritty. “How do you do that? I swear you were off the ground before he took the shot.”

I wipe my face on my shirt and take a long drink from my water bottle before answering. “I don't know. Just reflexes I
guess.” I don't want to make too big a deal about it with Will, but sometimes I just get a feeling of
. It just flashes into my head. Maybe it's from years of playing, but when it happens it feels different than reacting on instinct without thinking. It's like knowing without thinking.

“I bet it gets you a spot on Varsity for sure. Maybe even starting.”

“Yeah, well you were like a brick wall out there. Nothing got past you. Your keeper didn't have any saves to make.”

“Thanks. Glad you noticed that you're not the only star out there.”

“Whatever.” I've been friends with Will forever and I know he's got my back, but there's always been a competitive side to our friendship. I'm thinking
Right, how many saves did you make?
but I keep my mouth shut and turn my attention to the play on the field.

After all the players have had a chance to play and the scrimmage is over, the coaches have us run two cool-down laps around the field and then gather by the trainers' station to stretch.
This is it
. When they select the teams. But first the coaches go through this long speech about how everyone is a winner and good sportsmanship and how difficult it was for them to decide.

“We're hot, we're tired and we stink,” I say to the guys sitting next to me. “Just call out the names already.” This elicits a rumble of laughter around me.

“Okay, enough with the comments Horton.” Coach Swenson says. I shrug. “Let's get to it. Here are the teams. Freshmen first. When I call out your name, move over across the field to where Coach Vince is standing.” He gestures to his right. He begins calling off the names for the Freshman team and then the JV
team. Each player jumps up when his name's called, relief on his face. Will and I wait through the JV names—we're not called. Now it's just the players who made Varsity and those who didn't make it at all waiting on the grass. I have to believe that I made Varsity, but there's still that small fear that I didn't make the cut.

“Okay. Now for Varsity.” Coach Swenson calls out. “Ashmore, S., Asplunth, W.,” Will jumps up and I give him a high five. My heart is pounding. I'm waiting for the ‘H's'. “Bartlett, B., Cohen, A.” My breathing is shallow, like I'm holding my breath. “Franklin, M., Gordon, S., Horton, E.” It feels like my heart actually stops for an instant. Horton! Varsity! I made Varsity! I jump up and jog over to the group surrounding Coach Vince.

“Eric, alright!” They clap me on the back. “Congratulations,” says Coach Vince and shakes my hand. Will grabs my shoulders, “Hey, man! We're on Varsity!”

BOOK: The Field
3.21Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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