My thoughts are a chaotic mess these days. Tshepo thinks it’s because I’m in love. Kebone is hot for me. I can see it. She gives me these little letters full of hearts and stuff. And she sends me SMS’s until late at night.

I think that’s what’s bothering me on the day of the big match against Oliver Tambo High.

“Yesses, silima [fool], get your head together,” hisses Musa when I miss a critical tackle on Oliver Tambo’s striker and the guy goes on to score a goal.

A goal that costs us the match.

Our guys walk back to the change rooms with drooping shoulders. I amble along behind everybody. Angry with myself.

I am only vaguely aware of the guys from the other team also walking up the passage now to their change rooms.

When I get back to our team’s change rooms, my chest is drawn into a tight knot like a piece of chewed bubblegum. That’s what scared feels like.

I’m the last one in the change room. “Close the door,” the coach calls gruffly to me. 

My eyes are on the ground. I feel the door handle under my sweaty palm.

And then I become aware of somebody standing and looking at me.

I look up to the open door opposite our change room. Oliver Tambo’s.

When I see the guy, I feel a jolt inside.

QUESTION: Have you ever caused your team to lose a game?