“Nanni, why do you stick around with this bastard? You almost got yourself into trouble because of him today,” Marcello says to Nanni while placing his hand on Nanni’s shoulder.

“You can't even tell if his laziness is contagious, you better stay away from him before you become as lazy as he is,” Franco adds to what Marcello said.

I would have got up to rip them apart with the rage in me, but I don't want to lose the chance of training with them today.

They all hate me already, so if I should get up and attack them, the coach will suspend me for a year since he doesn't need me in his team.
I just have to play deaf to whatever they are saying about me. 

“I'm sure his father left him because he realized his son was a failure.
Only a mother would stay with such a failure for the sake of parenthood,” Giorgio says, and I clench my teeth. I become so furious that I would literally eat them up if I'm allowed to and still be given the opportunity to play.

I'm on the 30th Push up, trying to hit the 31st, making the 80th since I have already done a 50 earlier.
This is my punishment for scoring that own goal that made us lose that tournament 4 months ago.

THE NAPLES STREET TOURNAMENT, Is the only source of revenue generation for the club.

Anytime a tournament comes, every team in the tournament gets to engage in a bet. There are 12 teams in the tournament, including ours.

Each of the clubs brings out a particular amount of money which is kept with the tournament organizer. The team with the highest goals at the end of the tournament takes 50% of the money, while the two runner ups split the remaining 50% which then gives them 25% each.

That one mistake of kicking the ball into our own net made me everyone's enemy.
I wasn't loved by everybody in the team before then, but Marcello, Franco, and Gorgio used to be my friends, and now they've thrown away our friendship. Nanni is the only one who hasn't severed all ties with me. 

I'm not the only one who scored an own goal that cost us our victory, I can remember clearly when Marcello scored an own goal twice in a tournament which led us to be kicked out of the knockout stage, but he wasn't penalized for it.
That own goal cost us the chance of grasping the foreign Scout's attention. Abramo also has a record of scoring 6 own goals in a single tournament, but he wasn't punished.

I guess mine is different because they never really wanted me in the team.

I hit the 90TH pushup and I hear the coach calling to the other players.
“Come here! we have to begin with the warm-up exercises.

The coach calls the them to center of the field and they all start moving immediately they heard the call.

All of em' turned away from me and starts moving towards the coach who is standing at the center of the field. No, not all of em', all of em' except one person, Abramo.

Abramo is approaching me instead.
With the smile on his face, I can tell his planning something mischievous. He walks to me and says, “We all would have had enough money to take care of ourselves by now if not for that tournament we lost. And its all your fault, bastard. My girlfriend's birthday is tomorrow, and I don't have money to get her something good. You know, It's all your fault right?” Abramo yells at me and he smiles again. He grabs my wristband and pulls it off.

“Hey! Give it back,” I yell at him and he laughs.

“And what happens if I don't, are you going to fight me? Oh no! you can't do that, because the coach will rule you out of play for the next tournament,” He says, and he falls into another round of laughter.

“You see?
I'm going to sell this and use the money to get my girl something for her birthday,” He says and he continues in the annoying laughter. I close my eyes and squeeze my eyelids tightly so I won't see him anymore, because if I keep looking at him I might stop doing the pushups and get up to rip him apart.

That wristband means a lot to me.
Mama gave it to me when I turned twelve, and since then I had never taken it off until now, when this fool  pulled it off my wrist.

I almost forgot, I also have something for you,” He says and I listen, but I'm still not looking at him. I listen to him with my eyes closed.

He kicks my left hand off the floor and I fall on my face as I lost balance.
He laughs as I puff out the grasses in my mouth. My heartbeat rate quickens as I allowed the anger to consume me for that moment. I control myself and I proceed with the pushups.  He walks away to join the others in warming up as I keep the pushups going.

I'm doing these pushups hoping if I'm done, the coach would allow me play, so I let nothing distract me or anger me to the point of getting physical with anyone.

I hit 150 and I become so exhausted that I fall to the ground.
I can't feel my arms and all my muscles are sore. I pant continuously as I try to get up.

No one in our team has ever done what I just did.
No one has ever hit a 50. They only get to do 20 pushups if there arrive late for training, but the coach forced me to hit 150 when no one has exceeded 20.

Franco points to me and everyone laughs at me the moment they see me trudging towards them.

“I'm done, coach.
You asked me to give you a 100, and I even added an extra 50,” I say to the coach and he nods.

“Are you sure you did it properly?
” He asks and I nod, “Yes sir, I did it the same way you thought us,” I say to him and he nods. I'm expecting him to say something like “OK, good! You can join them in warming up,” but he isn't saying anything.

“Sir, I did what you asked, can I?
” I say and he cuts in, “Yes you can,” he says and I smile.

“You can take your bag and go back home.
You have served the purpose of which you came here today. Take your bag and go home now,” the coach says to me. I hang my head as I walk to pick up my bag.

Next chapter