Cecilia Pires de Oliveira Capela

To Lock A Mockingbird

Thirty seconds to score. I had only that.
My eyes were fixated on the ball in my right foot. Sweat covered my forehead and dripped into the grass. My legs trembled from exhaustion, but I wouldn’t give up. Gathering my last breath, I found the strength to thrust my legs farther into the direction of the goal.
I could hear everything and nothing at the same time, a buzzing sound controlling my senses. I heard the drop of sweat reach the green colored ground. Thump. I heard my heartbeat, accelerating as each second ticked by. I heard the cheers. I heard the laughs. I heard the smile of the goalie challenging me to miss the shot.
Ten seconds and going down. Nine. Eight. Seven…My breath caught in my throat and all my senses zeroed on the goal. Like a cheetah chasing its next hunt, I concentrated myself in making the shot. Bang.
Suddenly, there was no sound at all.
Slowly, the world came to light again, together with the glee coming from the audience. Had I scored? I let myself believe I succeeded until these words knocked at my ears:
“Of course she didn’t score, she is a girl."
I stopped in my track, frozen into my spot. Slowly, and steadily, I turned around, glancing towards the voice. Dark red lipstick. Long blonde hair and blue eyes. It was a woman! How could—
My coach howled in my face.
“Cecilia,” he spat out, “what is with you? why did you just stand there?”
I felt utterly and completely defeated as he continuously yelled at me. “Why can’t you just be like the rest of the boys?”, he repeated. And that simple phrase kept echoing in my mind and dictating my thoughts. Why can’t I just be like the boys? Why can’t I be just like them?
With my head down, as I exited the field, a single lonely tear rolled down my cheek and met the ground. People passed by me, but I did not have the courage to look at them. What would they say? That I was a disgrace? That I failed the team? I sighed.
From my limited extension of vision, I saw neon blue shoes. I lifted my head up. Wearing a bright red shirt and jeans shorts, a little boy, no more than seven years old, was holding his mom’s hand. Apparently oblivious to my presence, the boy tugged her shirt:
“Mom,” he quietly started, “why was this girl playing in a boys’ team?”
She said there were no girls’ soccer team in our city.
“Why not, mommy?”, he tried again.
Impatiently, she stated:
“Because soccer is a boys’ sport."
The lonely tear that had once fallen, now dried away in the grass, was not long followed by a stream. And by a dream.
As Harper Lee wisely stated, to kill a mockingbird is a sin. But it takes no fool to know that to keep one locked away from flying is no better.

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