Period 5 11/1/12 Unthinkable When I look at my life, and I think about the hardest things for me to overcome, I would have to say, the ultimate being, telling my mother and father that I would be sitting out of football my senior year of high school. Most would say how could this possibly be something that you would find challenging, but then you don’t know my mother and father. I started playing sports, football, in particular, at the age of 7. I was kind of a chunky little kid, even had a funny gait when I ran, but you couldn’t tell that if you talked to my parents. To my mom and dad, I was a superstar.
I started playing flag football through the YMCA program, and then moved up to Pop Warner. Here’s the crazy part. My mom or dad came to every practice, and every game, rain or shine. I think I was the only kid that knew one of my parents would be on the sidelines, whether at practice or a game. Now to be honest, those were tough years for me, as most times, my parents would be watching me sitting on the bench, because I did not get to play very often. During those years, I put on a brave face and never let my parents know how embarrassed I was and how I felt I let them down.
The crazy part was, when my parents met with other player’s parents, they talked about me like I was the star of the team, never made me feel bad for not playing in a game. Again, come rain or shine, they were always there for me. Those were tough years for me. Every coach found a reason why I just wasn’t ready to be a starting player. Then something really incredible happened during my 7th grade year. This didn’t start off incredible, in fact, it was quite humiliating. Everyone that wanted to try out for the 7th grade football team met after school one day.
Here were all the players and parents that I had been playing with for the last six years, and as the kid that sat on the bench most of the time, you can imagine, I was the odd man out. All these parents bragging about their own kids, the great plays, the touchdowns, but there stood my mom and dad, proud as ever. They were with their superstar. As the three of us stood there together, my father later told me that it was one of the most intimidating days he’d had in a long time, looking at the parents of the kids that got to play. My mother told me to do the best I could do, and my day would come.
My dad always said because he wasn’t a coach or assistant coach on these teams, I didn’t get a fair chance, but in my heart, I just didn’t think I was a great player. Good, yes, but not great. Tryouts came and went, and once again, I assumed I would be a bench warmer. As I said earlier, this turned out to be an incredible year, and something happened that I never expected. Now that I look back, I still have to ask myself, “Did that really happen? ” All of the kids I played football with throughout the years were, of course, picked for the starting positions.
Some of these very kids have made headlines in the last couple of years, but let’s get back to me. One cold dark evening, my Hedrick team was playing the Talent Bulldogs and one of the kids that normally played the wide receiver position was sick that day. The coach asked me to step in and give it a try. I can’t describe the butterflies in my stomach. My hands and knees shook and my heart began to race. I finally was given a chance and I was terrified. Well, guess what? Not only did I catch the ball and run it in for an 80 touchdown yard touchdown, but I did this game and game again.
After gaining the starting wide receiver position, I gained the starting linebacker position and proved my dominance once again on the field. At the end of the season, I was voted Most Valuable Player for both offense and defense for not only junior varsity but for varsity as well. Now, with that said, you can only imagine my parents. Their son going from a bench player to the number one player on both teams. My parents would run down the sidelines, whooping it up as I ran the ball. They finally had the superstar they’d been waiting for. Over the next few years, my playing improved, and I had moved to high school ball.
Playing varsity for north as a freshman, and just like before, my parents did not miss a practice or game, even if it meant driving a few hundred miles. My parents and especially my dad kept waiting for my next big break, my time to shine. Then in my junior year, I found myself transferred to a new school, tried out and actually made the Varsity football team. My parents were so proud of me, and I was proud of myself. I don’t know who was more excited, me or my parents. My parents were on Cloud Nine, talking about nothing but football and Friday Night Lights.
It was an exciting time of my life. The coach tried me out at Outside Linebacker, because of my speed, strength, and my ability to get around the offensive line. Then the unthinkable happened at practice. I was sent in on a blitz, and hit the offensive lineman with my shoulder. It felt like my arm had been ripped from its socket as I writhed on the ground in pain. The trainers ran over and rushed me to the hospital. I never would have guessed in a million years what a fateful day that would be. My shoulder was completely out of its socket, the tendons and ligaments torn.
The most important year of my life had just been stripped away from me. Not only was surgery required, but months of physical therapy. My orthopedic doctor told me I could no longer play football without risking irreparable damage. I never told my parents this, and the doctor never told them. I kept that dream of Friday night lights in my parent’s hearts until I should have been signing up for football camp. This is when I had to tell them what the doctor said, and there would be no football in my life, no letter, no photos, and no glory. To me, this was the hardest day of my life.
On this day, I knew I was breaking my parent’s hearts. Everything they had looked forward to for my senior year of football was gone. I played the game, but they had lived the sport. Something died this day, maybe just a dream of mine, but it seemed so much more. Like a part of me was left on the field that sad day that I suffered my injury. To this day I day dream of the achievements I could have over came if I had no suffered that injury. Maybe one day when I have kids I will be able to live my football career through my future son… but until that day comes I’m stuck watching in the stands