Every time I see a football ﬁeld whether it be in person, on TV watching a game, or on my Xbox playing Madden, I am always reminded of my 4 years of football during high school. Even though I haven’t played in 2 years, it has been just recently that I realized when I played I wasn’t just playing a sport or a game, 1 was also going to battle. It took me long to fully recognize it, but when 1 did it all made sense.
Before evew game on Friday nights we had a ritual. We would go straight to the study hall after school had concluded and try and ﬁnish our homework or get a head start on ones given out for the weekend. This rarely happened due to the excitement of the upcoming game and/or procrastination for the weekend. After an hour or so, it was time for team dinner. We would gather around in the cafeteria, say our blessings and eat as a team.
After we had got our share of food we were then sent to the chapel where we would have a short mass before the game. After the mass, we are told to keep quiet and are sent outside to meditate and prepare our minds for the game. At this point in time my mind is blank. All the things that were worrying me or bothering me are gone. The only thing on my mind is the game ahead of me. I would practice my plays by running through each and every one of them step by step in my head making sure there is no room fo doubt or question in my actions when the time comes.
At this point it was just my mind and [. No one else was there in the room with me. My focus was on another level at this point and nothing could disturb it. After the allotted time given to us to focus, we were then taken to the locker room to pad up. At this point in time It was like I was preparing for war. We would line up in a single line and pick up our individual equipment one by one as if we were being equipped with our weapons.
Then those who needed tape for their ankles would go over to coach Hoffman to get their ankles taped as if being bandaged for their injuries in battle. After even/one had received their weapons and ammo, we would huddle up as a team and receive our last speech from or head coach before we boarded the bus. At this point in time, my nerves were uncontrollable. l was more nervous than I could imagine. No matter how many times I tried to bring myself down and calm myself, my nerves would always stay up. During the bus ride we rode in silence, which added and extra factor to my nervousness. I never knew what anyone else was thinking. “Were they nervous? Were they scared?” I always used to ask my self, but that only added to my nervousness. My mind would be going one hundred miles per hour and the bus rides would always seem so short because of this.
When we arrived at our destination, especially away games, I felt as if I was about to get off the battleships in the movie Saving Private Ryan’s opening D-day scene. At this point it was just my team and I, no one else. In my eyes everyone was against us and it was us versus them. Before the game we were given one ﬁnally speech and then we were let loose, running through the tunnel to our bench screaming and shouting as if we were Trojans or Spartans shouting our battle cries. After the game win or lose, we would regroup in the end zone and have a ﬁnal talk about the game and what had happened in it before we boarded the bus and headed back home. When we got back we would look over the injuries and report them to a coach before we headed out which always was like reporting casualties to our captains. Looking back at all of this now I did realize that in as sense we did go to war. In no way am | trying to belittle what our troops do for us on constant bases, but for those seconds when I was not in reality I somewhat felt like I was going to war with my team and till this day I have memories of that feeling that make me feel like I did go to war with them.