Odd one out

Suburban hedge, North Vancouver 2019

Suburban hedge, North Vancouver 2019


“Right girls. We need two team captains.”

Miss Cooper barks her orders and blows her whistle to stop the small class of girls chatting.

“Let’s have Kate, please…and…Polly this time. Come and stand here and choose your teams. We have an odd number girls today so there’ll be a sub who’ll swap in every five minutes. Okay. Let’s go!”








One at a time a name is called and each chosen girl stands behind their team captain. Julia waits. She knows no one will choose her. The captains avert their gaze from hers choosing the best athletes for their teams first. The selection begins to decrease in skill level until Julia is the last girl standing.

“Could’ve predicted that,” says Miss Cooper. “Last but not least, Julia. You’ll sub in. Wait on the side-lines please. Everyone else decide your position and take a bib. Goalkeepers, kit on please.”

The rest of the class busy themselves chatting, arguing, jumping up and down in the cold. Julia stands by the edge of the field looking out at the large empty space. Miss Cooper won’t sub her in. Every time this happens, the teams are chosen and she is left on the sidelines. She runs up and down cheering, trying to be supportive, waiting for an opportunity to play with the other girls. But her opportunity never comes.

“Bitch,” she says under her breath and stabs at the ground with her hockey stick. She opens her mouth and breathes out watching a puff of warm air cloud in the cold. Everyone spills out around her onto the field. Miss Cooper blows her whistle.

Feeling brave? Want to share your story? In the words of one Disney princess, Let it go, in the comments below.