Friday, November 22, 2013

"Seventeen" by Bartholomew Stewart

The red and green digital clock had seventeen seconds left on it. Anyone who knew anything about wrestling would know that the red man and the green man were tied four to four. I was the red man. It was a cold January evening in the Herndon High School Gym, and two schools were present: Herndon and Wakefield. The atmosphere in the gym was similar to that of all high school wrestling matches: Very intimidating, serious, and in your face. There were only about twenty people spectating in the stands tonight, we had a crowd. There was one large red mat with a big H in the middle of the gymnasium. Two rows of chairs facing each other were filled with my teammates, and the Wakefield wrestlers. I was standing off to the side, with Mrs. Petruzzi stuffing my nose with gauze to keep it from bleeding, and Ms. Bishop was wiping the blood off of my leg. For some reason, I was very cold, even though others would say that the gym felt hot and sweaty. Coach Gonzales was nearby, and he looked at me, and said, “You know what you need to do.” I nodded. Mrs. Petruzzi and Ms. Bishop finished, and the referee walked over to examine me. “You’re good.” He said blankly. I begin to walk back to the center of the mat, and I got into referee’s position, and my opponent got on top. “Bottom man ready?” My mouthpiece was in, I nodded.

The whistle blew. I exploded upward with all of my strength, in an effort to get my one point that I needed to win the match. The clock was ticking. Fifteen. I was now up, but the Wakefield kid still had control. Ten. As I continued to struggle to break his hands, I recalled something in which Joey Riley taught me earlier in the winter. Five. I began to rapidly grind my knuckles against the back of his hands. Four. All of my body weight was stacked against his. Three. He began to grunt out of pain. Two. His left hand came free, I threw it up, reversed, and took him down. One. “Red man, two points, reversal!” Zero. The buzzer rang loudly. I got up, and went to the middle of the mat. I quickly shook hands with the Wakefield kid, and the referee took my hand, and threw it up towards the ceiling. I can’t help smiling after a win a match, because it is simply the best feeling imaginable. Maybe it’s something about having your hand raised up high, or maybe it’s looking into the stands, and seeing your loved ones cheer for you. That was the last match of the duel. As I go back to my chair to put on my warm-ups, and my sweat shirt, I look over at the clock. The red and green digital clock displayed this: 10-8

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