Episodes - 1: 'The Debut'

This is the first part of a series of fictional episodes I plan to write. There isn't a plot to them as of now.


He couldn't stop his legs from shaking. He tried telling himself that it was going to be alright. That everyone who was here before him must have felt the same nervousness, the same jitters, and the same fear. They had all overcome it, and so could he. This was his passage into history, the gateway into his dreams. Ever since he could remember, this was what he had wanted, this was all that he had ever wanted. Now that he was there, it somehow had an unreal feeling to it, like he was back in his dream. There was an eerie sense of déjà-vu, of having been here before. There was a time when his dreams had been so vivid, he could swear that they were real, and now it was his reality that felt like a dream.

He looked around at the faces he had grown accustomed to. Familiar strangers. They had come from all corners of the world, of different colors, ages, sizes and languages. Yet they were united by their skill, by their dreams, their ambition, and their commitment to the cause. They were all here before him and he had watched and learned from them. Now, being among them, he wondered what they thought of him. Was he really one among them? Did they think so? Did they wonder how long he would last? Would he survive till the next time? His heart was pounding so hard he wondered if it was audible to everyone around.

A giant roar swelled slowly till it entered his consciousness. The sound sent shivers right through his body, he could feel it tingle in his spine. Everyone around him tensed up, readying themselves for the battle ahead. Some closed their eyes in concentration, some whispered prayers under their breath, others moved about restlessly. Flashes of his past, of his long journey, of his family and friends filled his head. This was the moment he had waited for all his life. He needed to focus. He had a skill, and now was the test he had prepared for all his life. He closed his eyes and said a prayer.

He felt a hand on his shoulder. He looked up to find a kind smile. Others patted him on the back as they made their way past him and he knew they all wished him well. He had craved for respect all his life. In that moment, he realized that he had got it wrong. It wasn’t respect that mattered most. It was loyalty. He knew that he would give his all for them and that they would do the same for each other.

They all lined-up and moved in unison towards the great roar. He had seen the place empty a hundred times before and it was immense. Now to think that each seat would be occupied with a screaming person, either supporting him or baying for his blood. He was more terrified of his supporters than his enemies. What if he let them down? The place had a history; a reputation much greater than his young shoulders could carry. Who was he to think he was good enough to be here? What if it all turned out to be a terrible mistake? His one slip could shatter a million hopes. Such was the responsibility entrusted to him, the power he now possessed. As they headed out of the tunnel and the noise reached a crescendo, he felt overwhelmed by the scene around him. He knew he had to focus quickly and but he couldn’t help being swept away by the enormity of the occasion and the scale of the stage.

But as he stepped on the grass and crossed the white line, he felt an eerie calm. His mind cleared itself of all doubt, of all reasons and all desires. Only his instincts remained. He had done this a million times in his dreams. This was what he was born to do. The sounds around him were drowned by his intense focus. He couldn’t hear a single whisper; he couldn’t see a single thing beyond the field. He knew he would make it. He took his place in the starting lineup and his professional footballing career began.

Comments

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. you football junkie you. beautifully constructed word pictures. dreamt of playing in the EPL again last night?

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  3. Nice...well written... looking forward to further episodes...a projection of all your footballing aspirations... should be interesting...good luck!

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  4. @Pankaj: Thanks! :) And it is the Champions League these days.. My 30-yard volley wins it for Arsenal! :D Again. :D

    @Farah: Thank you DD.. I think all the 'episodes' will be unrelated.. (After all, how many goals can I score before it gets boring)

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  5. I think I'm beginning to jump to the last line of all your posts now.

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  6. ohho...football post. just when i decide to comment ON your blog :P
    but well, gotta hand you this...not once did my eyes leave the screen. i like how u describe it. very vivid. :)

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  7. nice... was wondering what it was about.. missed the first line by mistake!

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  8. @Argentyne: Oh.. But why ruin the fun? And at least here I wasn't trying to mislead na.

    @Nikita: You aren't constrained to comment only on the latest post. And if you found that interesting, you should try watching some football yourself. And thanks!

    @Harshad: Thanks :) (always read the fine print! its there to escape your attention initially, and make you feel foolish later.. :P)

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