The dry air seeps through your body. Sitting on the bench is not an issue, until the clouds start to shift overhead and the temperature drops a couple of degrees. You need to come dressed for summer, spring, and fall, unless you want the sniffles. The arid air dries your nostrils as if you have a cold but you’re an athlete; you play through it. The cloud formations are harmless overhead but the ones in the distance convey a tantalizing storm in its early stages. A dry breeze on the field and lightning in the distance is what you can expect across a mountainous landscape.
Pikes Peak looms in the distance as you make your way to midfield. Coach has finally entrusted you to make some things happen. Your teammates are tired, gasping for some recollection of air as they trump off the field, typical turf nothing special. You take your first step and everything feels the same, working to feel the pace of the game. Borrowed shoes from your friend slightly offs your touch but you manage; you’ve played in worst conditions before.
You run a couple sprints as you start to get the ball more. Your teammates are learning to trust you. You’re five to ten minutes in before your first assist and then it hits you. Your breath gets heavy, your legs get heavy. Your mind is 50% football 50% confusion. The altitude starts on your mind and body while your spirit is still with football but you know, you can only go so far until your body feels as if it’s shutting down and moving slower. You play for five more minutes until you request a sub and leave the pitch knowing that your job is done.