It was perfect, utterly perfect, and Neil felt at once inspired and horrified by the sight of it. How could he possibly play here? He closed his eyes and breathed in, breathed out, imagining the way bodies sounded as they crashed into each other on the court, the way the announcer’s voice would only come through in muffled, scattered bursts, the roar of sixty-five thousand people reacting to a goal. He knew he didn’t deserve this, knew beyond a doubt he wasn’t good enough to play on this court, but he wanted and needed it so badly he ached all over.
… He’d made the right decision. The risks didn’t matter; the consequences would be worth it. He had to be here. He had to play on this court at least once. He had to know if the crowd screamed loud enough to blow the roof off. He had to smell the sweat and overpriced stadium food. He needed to hear the buzzer sound as a ball slammed inside the white goal lines and lit the walls up red.