It was a gloriously bright and sunny Saturday morning, when I woke up at 7:43 a.m. filled with excitement because it was the day of the big event: the football match between Antigua and Guydadli which was scheduled to kick off at 4:30 p.m that evening. I usually would wake up at 8:30 on Saturday mornings, however, today was special and I wanted to finish my chores as quickly as possible because my father had promised to take three of my friends and me to the game after he finished work at 1:30 p.m.
For the last 2 days, my friends and I, along with what seemed to be the entire population of Antigua and Barbuda were constantly talking about this match. What will the score be? Who would score for Antigua and Barbuda? Can Antigua win such a big and important match which would see us, for the first time ever, through to World Cup preliminary qualification? I completed my chores quickly and efficiently because my father would have made me do them over if he wasn’t satisfied, and I didn’t want to risk it because we were to pick up my friends at 3’oclock. I was ready when my dad called at 1:15 saying he now had to work until 2:00. This made me anxious because the radio was informing that the traffic to the Stadium was already moving slowly.
At last, my father arrived home at 2:13 p.m., quickly showered and dressed. We were now ready to go or so I hoped because suddenly he couldn’t remember where he had placed the car keys. The phone rang while we were desperately searching for them; it was Jordan, my friend, reminding me of the time. I panicked and started sweating, he finally found the keys in the clothes hamper of all places. We rushed out to the car and sped off to pick up my friends at the appointed place which, fortunately, was quite close to the venue, but the traffic – cars, busses and trucks – was crawling, it seemed as if everyone and their “grand-ma” was heading to the stadium. We finally arrived and parked. My dad met a friend who was “an official” and he got us in before people ahead of us but not without some choice words and chupses. Knowing “an official” sometimes has its privileges.
The atmosphere in the stadium was like Carnival and Christmas Eve night in St. John’s rolled into one, music was blasting, people were dancing and waving Antigua’s flag. The game kicked off and the excitement increased as both teams played brilliant football up and down the pitch. Half time arrived and the score was tied at zero. My friends and I went for snacks and juice and as soon as we returned to our seats the second half started. More exciting football but neither team managed to break the scoreless deadlock, then, with about 2 minutes left in regular time Antigua scored and the eruption was probably heard in Montserrat, the tension increased, could Antigua defend? The referee added two minutes of extra time, now most everyone was standing and urging Antigua to defend. The full time whistle finally blew setting off a massive celebration, people dancing, jumping and slapping fives, I was exhausted! That night I dreamt I was representing Antigua and it was me, with two minutes left, collecting a pass at midfield and weaving through the opposition’s defense to hit the winner in the top left hand corner of the net and the crowd started screaming my name……
BIO: Zuri Holder is a 12 year old form 1 student at The Antigua Grammar School. He enjoys reading, playing cricket, football and other games. He likes travelling and is also a drummer with the Antigua Dance Academy. In 2011, Zuri placed second in the 12 and younger category of the Wadadli Pen Challenge. The Big Event has earned him third placed overall in the 2013 Challenge and the win in the 12 and younger age category.
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