Kate Christie

Free Kate Christie by Beautiful Game

Book: Kate Christie by Beautiful Game Read Free Book Online
Authors: Beautiful Game
wasn’t All-American for nothing.
    The crowd cheered and screamed for us. The SDC keeper dug the ball out of the net and punted it angrily toward the midfield line. Holly and Laura both picked me up and twirled me around, separately. We were all laughing. Jamie slapped hands with the other forwards who mobbed her, but she was looking at me. I waited for her to catch up. We slapped hands then, holding on for a moment longer than necessary, eyes locked.
    I nodded at her. “Sweet shot, Jamie.”
    She nodded back. “Nice ball, Cam.”
    We let go and jogged back toward our half for the post-score kickoff. We didn’t like each other much, but on the field that didn’t matter. This was a team, and we both understood what that meant. We both wanted to win.
    Just before the whistle blew for kickoff, I glanced over at the bench and caught Mel’s eye. She gave me a thumbs-up.
    SDC was down. We ran all over them the last twenty minutes, pounding the goal with shot after shot. Their keeper kept them in, again, making incredible saves all over the penalty box. They only had a couple of shots on our net, desperation shots from twenty and thirty yards out. Our backup keeper, Anna, a true freshman, settled down and made the easy saves.
    With five minutes left, one of SDC’s midfielders juked ours and pounded down the left side of the field. I cheated over, ready to step up if I needed to. Then the midfielder wound up and chipped the ball down the far side of the field, kind of like a Hail Mary pass, hoping one of her strikers would win the foot race. I turned and ran back on an angle, ready to cover if Jodie, our outside defender, faltered. It was between Jodie and the striker who had taken Mel out. They were neck and neck, thirty yards out from the goal, almost to the ball, when Jodie stumbled. That was all it took. The forward sprinted past her on a breakaway.
    She cut toward the goal, slowing just enough to control the ball. That gave me time to narrow the space. We were twenty yards out when she saw me coming from the side. She wound up, Beautiful Game 61
    trying to get a quick shot off, but I slide-tackled her, hitting the ball square on and knocking it away for the save.
    Only the SDC striker didn’t avoid my tackle as I’d expected.
    Instead she lunged, a moment too late, into the spot where the ball had been. My follow-through carried all of my weight into her left leg, and I heard a sickening crunch as my foot connected fully with her ankle. We fell over each other in a heap.
    At first I thought I’d broken my foot as hot pain shot up my leg. Then I heard a scream, close to my ear, and rolled away from the SDC player. She was sobbing and flopping around on the ground, hysterical, clutching her left leg. Her foot was twisted sickeningly, and I knew then that it was her bone cracking I had heard, not my own.
    Her players and my players were there in an instant. Laura and Jeni helped me up as trainers from both schools sprinted onto the field. One of the SDC players knelt beside the injured striker, holding her hand and trying to calm her. Another player came toward me, eyes blazing.
    “I hope you’re satisfied, you fucking bitch,” she spat at me.A little ways away I saw their captain yelling at the head referee. He was shaking his head. Finally he said something to her and walked toward me. Jamie, our captain, followed him over, talking to him too. He ignored her.
    “That was a fair tackle,” he said to me. “You didn’t mean to hurt her, did you?”
    I shook my head, looking over at the sobbing girl. “No. She saw me coming. I know she did.”
    He nodded and walked over to the trainers to check on the SDC player.
    Jamie touched my shoulder. “Nice hit,” she said.
    I looked at her quickly—was that sarcasm? But she seemed to mean it. I shook my head, turned to limp away. Jamie followed.
    My foot was killing me. There were tears sliding down my face, I noticed vaguely, though whether they were from pain or

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