Warm dark red liquid slid down my arm, gradually making its way to the tip of my finger and then crashing to the ground with a plop.

Everything is a struggle, pain wracks every part of my body, seventy nine minutes have taken from me my youth and all my strength.

We are down by nine points in this match, a daunting number.  But we don’t know what giving up is, we haven’t ever heard that you can quit and we don’t care if you think this is over.

We are GV rugby.

The scrum crashes together like a tidal wave striking a mountain, neither really feels great about the experience.  The ball slides in smoothly to us. Our eight man, Mario, picks up the ball and you can see the pain in his face as he takes the first step, but pain is nothing and so it fades away behind what matters.

Fifty Eight seconds.

Mario bursts forward with speed that should have left him long ago, punishing any who stand in his path, sacrificing his body for just a few extra yards before three of them take him to the ground and we take two more crash balls down to the five yard line.

Forty Seconds.

Kevin, the scrummy, moves in, digging and clawing the ball out of the pile of corpses that are players.  “Crash!” His hoarse voice screams as he turns and whips the ball at the first forward he sees, Donkey, who stand right in front of me. A last second glance in my direction lets me know what he wants me to do.  It’s time to drive this ball in.  I grab the nearest person to me and as Donkey slams head first into their defenders we come up behind him, bind on and launch him like a rocket into the chest of the opposing team’s biggest man, who, like a falling oak tree, thunders to the ground.

Thirty seconds.

The Sir comes over to find where the ball has landed, and like a blessing his arm comes up and his whistle blows.  The first try is complete.

We surge back to mid field hollering like banshees, it is still possible, we can do this.

Blood has crusted my entire arm now, finding its way to my jersey and staining it.  I look down and know that I didn’t give this blood for nothing, we can do this.

Zero Seconds, over time.

The kickoff happens, with their whole team chasing it as if it is meat and they are starving lions. 

One heartbeat.

I catch the ball as if it is surreal, and turn charging up the field.

Two heartbeats.

I take it to ground letting my team cover my decent, placing the ball back.

Three heartbeats.

The ball screams across away to the backs, finding its way through to Timmer on the outside, with Cody chasing him.  He offloads to Cody who gets slammed into inches from the side line.

Fourth heartbeats.

NO! My mind screams, if Cody goes out this game ends.  NOOO! At the last possible second, he offloads, back to Timmer.

Five heartbeats.

Timmer gets hit hard as he offloads the ball and it goes wild with everyone chasing it. Somehow, by miracle perhaps, it finds Mario’s hands.  He runs, so fast and so relentless it is like a Spartan warrior slashing at his foe laughing all the while at their pathetic attempt to take on his might.

When his dance across the field ends, it’s in the try zone.

The impossible happens.

My heart skips a beat.

 

Dan Kennedy (DK)

Grand Valley State University Rugby