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A Championís story
September 7, 2004
I remember waking up on the first day of fall practice of my senior year of high school football. The entire summer I had endured a rigorous training schedule, and coming into the season I was a highly ranked athlete. Like any other normal athlete, I had doubts about myself. "Can I live up to the expectations of the media? Am I as good as everyone thinks?" My biggest worry came from my teammates. I didnít trust them or their ability to help our team win. I felt as if none of them had the same skill level that I did. I mean I was the only returning All State player on the team, and I was the only player who received national recognition. As a team we were not the biggest and our quarterback was young and inexperienced, but as they say everywhere else, the show must go on, and that season it did.
Crisp and businesslike, we breezed through fall camp looking as if we had been playing together for the past six months. I was surprised to see the improvement made by players who I never thought would be the least bit helpful in our goal for a state title. The first three games went by faster than I can remember. All I know is that we won all three games, and in good fashion I might add. Things were looking good. We were winning, and most importantly to me, I was performing well. Feeling unstoppable, my train quickly came to a screeching halt.
I remember the day. It was a warm day, and the geese were all flying over our heads. Football was everywhere in the air. We had a longer practice that day, because we were playing our rivals from across town later that week. Everything seemed just fine until a horrific pain shot up through my right foot. Being a true blue athlete and football player I tried to tough it out, but after a few more plays it became too much to handle. "Well my friend, it looks like youíve got what they call a stress fracture," my trainer said. It hadnít hit me yet but what I was about to hear would tear my life into a million pieces.
"A stress fracture?" I exclaimed.
"Yeah, and Iím afraid you are going to need some time to let that heal before you can play again."
The eerie thought of me never playing football again crossed my mind, but the trainer put that to rest quickly. He told me that I would have to miss a few weeks in order for my foot to heal properly. I didnít have a few weeks though. I was already on pace to set a school record for receptions by wide receiver. I didnít know how ready I was to accept the fact that I would not be able to lead my team anymore, and with me on the sidelines how did they ever expect to win. Nevertheless I was out, and I had to accept it. We lost the next game by four points to our rival school. That was the first time in my high school career that I did not play one single down in a football game.
It hurt me to see my team fall to defeat. It hurt more to see them lose without me. I began to lose all faith in them. Practice was a joke for me. I would sit on the sidelines ridiculing every mistake that anyone made, acting as if I had never made the same mistakes. I had been out two weeks and the squad was about ready to play another game without me. I wanted to play! It didnít matter if I was hurt or not I wanted to be in. I missed the feeling of the Friday night electricity emitting from the packed stands. The team moral was still not up to par from the loss the week before, and the previous week of practice had been a horrendous. The game was a tough one, but to my surprise we came away with a victory.
I was stunned to see the team that I thought could
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