For the first year, we won more than the two games against our perennial basement-dwelling rivals Waltham. We split a series against Martha’s Vineyard, and come close to upsetting Milton, a powerful offensive juggernaut. We still weren’t likely playoff-bound, but one more win and a loss by the team directly above us could let us slip in. For once, it felt like a game would actually matter.
Coach Batty tabbed Motenko to start, which was fine with me. I had left the team for a week, and though I was back in time for two prior games, his dedication and resolve earned him the start. We were tied at halftime, and I warmed up excited to anchor our way to a victory.
As I ran back to the bench for the pep talk, Coach Batty grabbed me. “Motenko is playing lights out. I want to keep him in the game.”
“Ok,” I said. “He is playing really well.”
“I’ll get you in in the fourth quarter,” he promised.
I cheered from the sideline, my muscles tense, wanting more than anything to help my team out. The game went back and forth and we were only down one at the end of the third.