The deafening sound of the whistle pierces my eardrums as I witness the ball become airborne. Simultaneously, my apprehension escalates.

The endless hours of preparation elevate me with the rising of the sun while my self-doubt suffocates my very spirit and brings it to its knees. After all, I was still a novice, the Achilles’ heel of my team. Much like a tragic hero’s hamartia, I would lead my team to its initial defeat.

Or so I had presumed. Hesitantly, I grip the cold, frigid, handle of my lacrosse stick and assume my position as a midfielder. Catch. Pass. Catch. My heartbeat drowns my ear as adrenaline surges within my being. My opponent is now on the move, slicing through our defense without a sweat.

He steadily approaches my direction; his eyes are brimming with the same ferocity that is boiling within my body. I stand with conviction eager to prove myself. Yet, he proved to be better. Easily, he evades my attacks and pockets a goal that leads his team. I can feel it, I can sense the disappointment of my teammates. I stand behind my curtain of shame, ready to fend off any scorn. Surprisingly, there is none and they carry on. Errors upon errors ensue while the opposition continues to score.

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I cannot shake away the feelings of inferiority and mediocrity. My inexperience would lead to our defeat. “Anas!” my coach exclaims as he signals a substitution. I proceed to walk, but my disgrace tramples me. There I now stand, on the sidelines, witnessing the proficiency of my experienced teammates.

Gradually, I take notice of each player’s assets, each strength, and each weakness. I wonder if my coach had taken notice of my assets. Nonetheless, I began to recognize that each player acknowledged each other’s shortcomings and complemented it with their own strengths.This anomaly contradicted my initial mindset. Precedently, I assumed that only I possessed grievous faults and, therefore, I concealed them. It was now clear: my hamartia, my fatal flaw, was my lack of communication. I must exchange information regarding my position, incoming attacks, and tactics in a concise manner in order to alert my teammates.

Eagerly, I now await my substitution. “Anas, you’re doing great, but I want to see more cooperation. Make this quarter count,” says my coach as the final quarter commences.

This is my moment, my chance to redeem myself. The whistle resonates.  My opponent is advancing towards me.  We are both seeking the same goal: to pocket a win. “Got ball,” I yell. A quick two-step and I am now defending him.

Is he going to pass me? “Got help”. Not a chance. To my rescue appears my teammate for a double-team. I check the ball. Scoop.

Pass. Catch. We recover, and down the field we go, one-step closer to a victory. Unity finally began to manifest. Despite the delay, we secured our first victory with the final score being 14-10. Each goal was a strenuous battle, nonetheless, we emerged triumphant. Undeniably, this experience was unparalleled. This event emphasized the significance of communication and its consequential effects.

Effective communication ameliorates collaboration while eradicating any glaring shortcomings of a team. Most notably, this profound experience has exemplified that one must recognize and ameliorate one’s weaknesses despite the difficulty of doing so.