1. to overcome the distrust or hostility of; placate; win over: to conciliate an angry competitor.
  2. to win or gain (goodwill, regard, or favor).
  3. to make compatible; reconcile.

Goosebumps covered her bare arms despite the humidity and sun overhead.

The glaring look was unmistakable and all too familiar.

A slight chill shook her body. She placed her hands on her hips and immediately dropped them. The worst thing she could do right now would be to even appear to have an attitude. Ignorance was more palatable than defiance.

“Why am I out here in the hot sun, Karin?” The words were had the effect of ice in her veins.

This was a rhetorical question. Even a slight attempt to respond would be fatal. She stood there motionless, quiet.

“Do you think I enjoy sweating so much that I would stand here out in this unbearable heat just to watch you make such poor shots?”

It was only 10 in the morning, but the day had already been long. Practices were necessary, but also hard. They felt more akin to corporal punishment than a natural part of being a so-called “soccer phenom.”

“If you’re making 20 shots on goal, then you need to make sure you’re ready to score 20 times. It’s not enough to get the ball in the net a few times, Karin! Either shoot it over the goalie’s hands with speed or force, or quit. Either come out here and play or stop wasting my time!”

This was Karin’s reality. When she had started playing soccer at age 4, she didn’t realize that the more talent a player had, the more pressure they felt to be even better than the best. Since age 8, every coach had been the same except for her last one, Peter. He’d been kind, but was quickly dismissed six months ago. And now, at the age of 17, she found herself back in her dreaded routine–enduring the yelling and shaming, trying to translate it into her mind in order to use it as motivation and encouragement.

“Now, are you going to start playing like the soccer star I know you can be?”

This question wasn’t rhetorical, but Karin felt unable to answer. She felt tired and defeated. She didn’t feel like a star.

It was obvious that a better performance would be the only thing that would conciliate her mother. 

Still unable to speak, Karin nodded, sweat burning her eyes.

“Take two laps around the field, then we’ll work on some drills for your speed. We’ve got a lot of work to do if you’re going to make the team this Saturday.”

Karin took off running with heavy legs, feeling unmotivated about making any team.


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