Tay slapped the remote down on her dark brown sofa and gave out a huff as she sighed. She normally didn’t like to watch the news but she wanted to know if her big game tomorrow would be canceled from all of the storms. Instead of the weather and soccer channel, she found all of the broken bits and pieces of her country displayed on her screen. It felt gross to be on the side that didn’t care. It felt weird, like a burden, heavy. She lifted herself off her couch and walked out the door, soccer ball under arm.
She stepped out onto the field energized. She loved playing soccer. It got her mind off of the crazy things in the world around her, but it also allowed her time to think. Those weren’t the only reasons for her sudden need to practice though. Tay had a big game the next day and though she didn’t think she needed to practice it was her hobby, so she placed the ball down on the trimmed grass and gave it a kick.
Getting rushed off the field limping, Tay groaned as her huge soccer game was thrown into the trash. She was counting on this game to boost her career but she just couldn’t keep focused. Her mind kept getting flooded with articles, news reports, and pictures of the current events. She wanted to help but she just didn’t know how. Tay sighed, feeling overwhelmed and defeated.
Tay slammed her apartment door, once she was inside she looked back, slightly in shock, and she raised her eyebrows. She didn’t know she was that upset about everything. I guess really I am, she resolved, with a slight frown and shake of her head to clear her thoughts.
Tay sat down on her apartment bed and threw her soccer bag in the corner. Though she was in professional soccer, she lived in a small apartment on the fifth floor. It was cozy, with a spacious living room and her bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen. Her walls were covered in artwork made by her nieces and nephews. It was a modern apartment with dark furniture and bright walls and hardwood floors. Her apartment was colored with grays blues and pops of purples, pinks, oranges, or greens. Tay layed down on her soft white blankets and slowly her eyes closed.
“I don’t know either Tay. Everything feels jumbled and crazy.” Katie replied as she slouched deeper into the sofa. “Every day something new gets added.” She said, feeling down.
“Let’s go to the park and get some fresh air. How bout it?” Tay suggested optimistically “Maybe it will lift our spirits.” Katie smiled, agreeing.
Tay and Katie jogged around a glistening lake as water came flowing and rushing out of a fountain, and spray was carried off by the breeze. Tay always loved running, ever since she was a kid she and her dad would go to the park to run and race against each other. She loved thinking of the fond memories of her and her family together.
Katie was Tay’s best and closest friend. They talked about everything and did everything together. Tay always knew that she could count on Katie and Katie knew she could always count on Tay. Tay always envied Katie’s wavy golden hair and bright blue eyes compared to her plain, straight brown hair and brown eyes. The two friends talked about all of their feelings under the bright morning sun and singing birds. It was nice to have someone who she could vent to, it made her feel lighter.
“I want to help, I really do. I just can’t think of something I could do. I play soccer, how much help is that?” Tay said with a huff of disappointment.
“Tay you're a professional soccer player! People listen to you. They know you.” Katie exclaimed in a sort of “duh” voice.
“I guess. I haven’t really thought of it that way.” Tay responded thoughtfully a crease forming on her brow.
Tay tossed over and over under her covers that night. Maybe I could….ugh….I dunno. Maybe...I don’t know. She sighed and turned over yet again, but her eyelids finally felt heavy and closed as she fell asleep, still unsure about her plans.
“Katie! I think I might have found an idea. Maybe. Let me know what you think of it...” Tay proclaimed into her phone excitedly.
“I think that would be a great idea Tay. You should plan a big one. Where they can stay for a couple hours and...Oh….ooooo…... you could even sign autographs.” Katie giggled as she fancifully thought of her shy friend signing autographs with fans lined up out the door and to the end of the street.
“No, no, no. Definitely not autographs.” Tay replied, a grin breaking out over her face, as she shook her head in amusement at Katie.
“Um..hi. Welcome, and thank you for coming! I hope you enjoy the banquet!” Tay gave a small smile and waved. Everyone clapped. Tay was shy and felt a little uncomfortable up on a stage. Lots of people thought that being a professional soccer player and all, made it so that she was used to big crowds, but the truth was she didn’t like them. At all. They made her feel lost and small, but she managed to enjoy the party despite the crowd.
“Wow. I didn’t expect so many people to show up.” Tay commented, eyebrows raised and a smile on her face.
“I told you! People know you and they listen to you.” Katie told her with a playful nudge.
“I bet they would listen to you more than me though. I feel like a total idiot on that stage.” Tay replied.
“You were doing just fine.” Katie finished, with a discrete eye roll at her friend’s complete lack of confidence
There was barely a time when Tay wasn’t busy saying hello to, or meeting new people. It was a totally new experience for her. When she did get time to take a breath and stop to think for a second, Katie’s words came back to her and ran through her head. “They know you and they listen to you.” It would take a lot of courage but Tay thought it might be a good time to take advantage of that fact. Maybe this would be the time where she could really make a difference in a hurting nation, where she could make her mark. Tay walked back up to the platform and took a deep breath. She had always avoided big crowds. Why would she seek one out now? She placed her foot on the step to the stage and continued to walk up.
“I would like to introduce my good friend, Katie, to all of you, and thank her for giving me inspiration and the courage to put on this event.” Tay started. The crowd applauded. She thought she was actually doing pretty good, and with her confidence boosted a little higher, she started again.
“Katie told me that I was a professional soccer player. That people knew me and would listen to me.” Tay chuckled a little and the crowd followed. “I supposed that I should've taken advantage of that, so, we put on this feast.” She said, raising her hands in a gesture to the crowd. They cheered.
“I want to let you all know something that as a professional soccer player would be shocking to some of you...I am shy...I don’t like crowds, and this event terrified me.” She ended with a grin and the crowd erupted in applause.
“It was worth it though. All of the anxiety and frustrations that planning a big event comes with, it all paid off. Not just for you all with good food to eat,” Laughter rippled through the crowd,”but it helped me get out of my comfort zone. I want to encourage you all tonight that if you want to make a difference, do it.” Tay paused. “Our nation is hurting and change isn’t going to happen if we have ideas but don’t take them through to the end. You can do it because I can do it. I can’t do it because I am a professional soccer player and people will listen to me. I can do it because of courage.” Tay had to pause because the audience had broken out clapping again.
After a minute or two, Tay ended after discussing the current events, “...In the end, one thing remains, we are all different...but that’s okay.” She stepped off the stage as the crowd applauded.
"See. Your a complete natural." Katie said when Tay walked off the platform over to her.