When I first “tackled” the idea of a place most important to me I nailed it straight away. Football was my first love as a child, is my strongest desire for my future, and what effort I put into is incomparable to anything else in my life. Because of my affection for the sport the most significant place to me is a football field on a Friday night.
I grew up around football. Every Saturday and Sunday (and Monday night) was and still is dedicated to the sport. My dad coached me during my early grade school years and now I’ve moved up to a much more competitive high school level. Because of this I train hard everyday, during the season and off-season, with the thought of our Friday night games on my mind. I’ve never worked for something with as much desire or intensity as I do for football. I know my dream of playing at a professional level is unrealistic; however the chances of coaching at a high school or even collegiate level seem reasonable. I can’t think of anything more fulfilling than helping young determined kids, like myself, better themselves in football and in life.
Last Friday night my team traveled by bus to Nine Mile Falls, home of the Lakeside Eagles. As we exited our game bus I took in the smell of barbecue and fresh cut grass and it instantly overwhelmed me. I saw our crowd beginning to form as our focused, quiet team moved onto the field for pre-game activities. This is when I began to feel the butterflies and tension build. After we suited up and stretched we made our way back to our locker room and sat for a few minutes. Whether it’s from sitting in thoughtful silence, or listening to the coaches shouting or music blaring, we’re always pumped up. We made our way back out onto the sideline and saw our crowd again, but triple the size it was a few minutes before. Knowing the fans are there to see us perform gave everyone a surge of adrenaline and we raced out onto the field. The view from on the field is the most spectacular. The bright lights of the scoreboard, press box and lights, the fascinated children, and pretty cheerleaders attempting to get our crowd even more excited all contribute to the mounting tension. Taking in all of this is truly inspiring. After kickoff, when the contest commenced, the butterflies quickly faded away, and were replaced by an unyielding desire to exchange blows and fight through the pain of concussions for my teammates, friends and family, and town.
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Throughout the game I was constantly surrounded by the distorted sounds of the cheering fans and team, and the screams of the coaches and fathers pretending to be coaches. Emanating from the field itself I heard the sounds of pads crunching from high impact collisions. Play calls and adjustments yelled from the players before and during the play add to the already high level of noise. As the play is run I heard the heavy footsteps of players chasing and trying to avoid each other and the grunts and groans emitted from the players. The referee’s whistles signaled the end of each minor battle as each of the plays ended. When the game finished, I felt the butterflies again as if they had never left, but more-so the emotional high of our win.
I’ve witnessed and lived through many great and terrible things in my football experiences, from injuries that could possibly threaten paralysis to friendships bonded. Out on the field there’s no telling what kind of spectacular things may be seen, but that’s nothing in comparison to the potentially flawless feeling I experience every Friday night. Win or lose my inner longing to continue experiencing this feeling for the rest of my life only grows stronger.
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