By Christina Restivo with Al Mattei

September 11, 2001 was an ordinary day at school, until I noticed something wrong sitting in class. All of the teachers were running back and forth; there was some sort of confusion, and we didn't know what was going on.

And then somebody told us that someone had flown a plane into one of the Twin Towers. I was wondering how something like that could happen; I thought at first that it was an accident. But then, when the second one flew into the other tower, there was utter confusion around the school.

Our teachers got us together and tried to keep us contained, so we kept learning to get our minds off of everything.

I called home, where I live with my parents and my sister. At the end of the conversation, she told me, "Come home right now."

I was pretty much in shock that day, and for the rest of the week, I can't remember everything that happened.

But our first practice after the attacks, we wanted to do something to do something spirited. They actually made red, white, and blue bands to wear over our shinguards; one of us sewed them all together. Being a goalie, I felt left out because I couldn't put them over my leg guards.

I instead decided to paint my leg guards, and have something to represent spirit and the United States when I played. One pad had red and white horizontal stripes, and the other had a blue field with stars on the top half, and white and red stripes on the bottom so that when they are squeezed together, they look like an American flag.

The pads got a lot of attention from parents, opponents, and onlookers. A lot of people came up to me and said that they loved my pads, and that it was a great idea.

I don't know whether it was my leg guards, or our legbands, but we went all the way to the state finals with them, tying Bethesda-Chevy Chase for the championship.

These days, those leg guards are still in my room. I don't know what to do with them yet, but I still have them.

These days, I now use a new pair of black foam pads at the University of Maryland. I eventually hope to do these in an American flag pattern, but I don't know whether I'm allowed to or not.

This entire year, since Sept. 11, 2001, I have been assessing what has been important to me; my family, my education, and staying with my new team and becoming the best goalie that I can be.

I hope to learn as much as I can, since my dream is to make the Olympic team one day and wear the red, white and blue, and not just on my leg guards. Hopefully, one day, I will be there, but no one can tell right now.

Christina Restivo, a graduate of Hereford (Md.) High School, matriculated to the University of Maryland in the fall of 2002.