My final thoughts of high school football
Posted 01 March 2012 - 10:13 PM
I normally don't post things this personal, but I thought I'd give it a shot.
Just a real quick background. I am a senior in high school set to graduate in May. I tore my acl and meniscus in October of 2011 (this past season) and I will never play football again.
Enjoy, or hate. I just wanted to post it somewhere.
You hear it all the time from coaches in the pre-game warm ups and speeches: “Play each snap like it will be your last.” Most players will sit there and let the words flow graceful in one ear and out the other. No one wants to even comprehend that thought when you sit in the dank and stiff aired locker room before marching onto the field to play the passionate game of football. In reality, all things will come to an end. This is displayed all around us at all times. The sun rises and falls each day, this marks the beginning and end of a new day. Humans are born and humans will all eventually die. Nothing physical lasts forever. The presence of thoughts of the end in the locker room aren’t appealing to football players. They want to focus on what lies ahead of them. Making the right decision, remembering the plays, making the tackle, playing for each other- all the things that compose a football game. However, the thought of the end is always lurking in the back of their heads. It cannot be avoided.
Those feelings and actions were exactly my feelings before the Pflugerville gave which proved to be my last, ever. I listened to Coach Wheeler and Coach Penland give their pre-game speeches/pump ups about how great successful people had to fail a lot to get where they ended up. Such as Michael Jordan missing more than half of the shots he took. The message in my mind was one of relief. I had never thought of this thought before. You have to fail repeatedly in order to be successful. Our team had literally failed all year (in terms of winning) and the consensus in the locker room was that we were going to give everything we had. Limit the number of failures and see what happened. I remember walking out onto the asphalt of the driveway that leads in Kuempel Stadium with an eerie feeling that this was my last time walking onto a football field suited up for a football fight. Little did I know that I was right; it would be my last.
We started off the game strong. With a sense of urgency and passion that we hadn’t displayed all year minus the Bastrop victory. In a 5 wide spread offense we had Pflugerville completely off guard and we displayed Kuhn’s great mobility and arm strength and Murphy’s ability to juke and his superior speed. We drove the ball successfully and the feeling on the sidelines was one of belief. Acceptance that overcoming failures in the past and the present could (and was) leading to success. Now, for those of you reading this that don’t know, you must understand that in a 5 wide spread offense I was off the field as more speed at wide receiver was put in instead of having a tightend on the field. On the sidelines the eerie thought was still lingering in my mind, but I brushed it off. It was time to play football.
I found myself in for the first time during the game as we went back to our normal offense. Over me was a pretty large (230+) defensive lineman that I had to scramble or do whatever I could to keep him off of Zach, Jalen, or Schuyler. I was up for the challenge. I won first, then he won. I kept track. I wanted to win. I lost count after 5 plays, but the point here is that even after I lost and got beat, I gave the next play after even more determination and work than the other. Success comes through failure.
It was 12 seconds before the half would end when I stared through my face mask at a low flying ball that hit the ground. “I have to get the ball. It was live. I have to get it.” Those were my thoughts. Then I was hit low and then hit high. I hit the ground and nothing felt different. I brought my hands to a push up position and got myself up, but not very far. As soon as I put weight on my legs they gave out and I hit the ground. I couldn’t breathe and my knee stung, bad. Jacky stood over me and asked if I was okay and I couldn’t respond. Next Ms. Ochs’ voice was in my ear asking what was wrong and I just held my knee and she knowingly understood. Doc came over, helped me up, and threw my arm over his left shoulder and helped me off the field. I don’t remember what the stands looked like. I don’t remember the noise of the crowd. I don’t remember where my helmet went, I don’t remember anything other than my thoughts at the time. It was my left knee and I couldn’t put weight on it. My parents weren’t at the game (the only one in four years they didn’t attend). As I walked across the field under the support of Doc and another trainer I cried. I’ll admit it, I cried. I couldn’t hold it in. It wasn’t out of pain. I realized that, at that moment, I would never play the game of football again (a real game of football). The thought devastated me. What pissed me off even more was the eerie thought in the back of my mind was true, almost like a warning.
A lot of people asked me, if after all these years, camps, pain, and commitment, if football was worth it in the long run. My answer, without a doubt, was and always be yes. It has taught me a lot about myself. It taught me that I don’t like to be yelled at and so I strive to make little to no mistakes so I didn’t get yelled at. It taught me to always do the right thing. It taught me respect. It taught me to appreciate the others around me. All in all though, it taught me to be grateful for the opportunity to play, in my mind, the greatest team sport ever.
If you want a picture, here you go: (I'm number 37), closest to you on the left.
Posted 10 May 2012 - 06:06 PM
Posted 11 May 2012 - 10:19 AM
Posted 11 May 2012 - 10:24 AM
Wow...your story moved me, I'm so sorry about your knee, I wish there was something I could do but I know there isn't. I'm glad that you have no regrets despite what happened. Stay as strong as you obviously are...thank you for sharing your experience. Truly moving.
He damaged his knee because he played too much Skyrim.
*ba dum tsss*
Posted 11 May 2012 - 10:27 AM
Posted 11 May 2012 - 02:24 PM
@Ladylee: Thank you for your kind comments and I'm glad that you enjoyed my thoughts about life and football. Your kind words and comments are more than enough for me
@Edd: You're a troll looking to get battle money (don't lie). All I've gotta say. I also don't even own Skyrim. Haha.
@Nick: Nick to the rescue!
Posted 11 May 2012 - 02:27 PM
On a serious note, I do realize what it means to have a torn ACL, and that's the worst thing to happen to an athlete. D:
Posted 11 May 2012 - 09:36 PM
@Edd: Yes, I get it Edd, haha.