Empathy and a Football Coach

Author: Ayaan. Learner at The Integral School, Hyderabad.

This is a part of an assignment where the learner had to write a story based on a word. The word assigned to this learner was Empathy. The learner wanted to write a story based on the concept of empathy but without using the word empathy anywhere in the story.

Hello! My name is Nick and I live in Paris. You may have heard of me, I play football for a club called AC Monaco. I have a breathing problem and have to take medicines before each game. Today was a special day as I was going for the selection trials for the French Team. My friend was also coming with me.

I played very well in the first round. I also did well in the second and third round of the trials. This gave me the confidence that I will qualify for the team. There was just one more round to go. Just before the final round, my friend (who was not doing as well as I am) broke my medicated breathing mask. I was not able to run in the final round as I could not take deep breaths (as the mask was broken).  I could not qualify for the team and my friend was laughing at me as he had qualified for the team.

My coach called me to his room the next day and asked what had happened. I did not want to tell him anything because I did not want him to know about my breathing problem. I kept silent, went back home and started crying. I kept on asking “Why did you give me this breathing problem?”

After some days, I started playing for the club again. I played even better this season. We were playing the last match of the season and would be the champions of the league if we won this match. The match started fast and was very entertaining but became slower over a period of time. The other team scored the first goal at the end of the first half. We went to our changing rooms where i took a few breaths from my breathing mask. We started the second half with a more aggressive style of football and scored a goal in the 86th minute. We thought the match might end in a draw but a defensive error by our opponents allowed me to try a long range shot that went in the goal.  I was very happy. We had won the league.

The next day, the coach called me into his room and showed me the breathing mask.  I was shocked and wondered how he knew. Now I will be kicked out of the club and no one else will consider me as a player. My future is ruined.

What the coach said shocked me even more. He said I should have told him the truth. “I understand what you are going through as I have already experienced it”, he told me. He said he also had a disease of the lungs and kept on lying. “The disease got worse because i kept it hidden. That is why I am a coach now and not a player. If you keep on lying, you will also become like me and I do not want that to happen. You will go to the doctor tomorrow and that is an order”.

I felt relaxed and went home as a happy man. I was cured in month with medicines and was ready to play again. The selection for team France was up again and I was ready for it. I played the best in my career and was selected for the French team. It was now time for the FIFA 2022 world cup. In the first game, I was a substitute and came on in the 80th minute to score the winner. After that, I became an automatic selection in the first eleven. In the second match, however, i played really bad and our team lost. Our next match was against Brazil, which had an excellent team. I was again selected for the first eleven. Brazil scored in the third minute and celebrated with a lot of passion. We scored the equalizer in the 77th minute and the winner came in the 83rd minute. We qualified for the round of 16 and were slated to play against England. We thrashed England 4-0 with goals in the 17th, 19th, 44th and a long range shot from me in the 61st minute. We celebrated and I saw my old friend who had broken my mask earlier. He was a sub in the team. We played Spain in the quarters and my old friend was in the starting eleven. We had a chance in the 40th minute but my friend tried to  dribble and avoided making a pass to me. He lost the ball and the chance was lost. In the 89th minute, I got the ball and made a pass to my old friend who scored into an open goal. He came up to me after the match and said sorry. We played well against Chile in the semis and won the match easily.

The finals was against Germany and they scored in the 3rd and 7th minutes.  My friend got injured and he was off. I scored in the 83rd minute and we scored another goal when i passed the ball to my striking partner. In the 93rd minute, I dribbled past 4 defenders and scored the winning goal. I got the golden boot and was very happy.

Once i reached back home, i went to meet my coach and gave him the golden boot. :Thank you for understanding me, helping me out and guiding me along the right path”, I told him as I handed over the boot.



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