This past Saturday our football team had our last league game against the Laguna Blanca Owls.
Contrary to how I was feeling going into this game, and what I wished had happened, we did not end up winning, but lost our fifth consecutive game.
Sadly this season came to an end sooner than I had hoped, and not the way I wanted to leave the field.
We finished with a final score of 44-26.
That is much closer than some games we have played, and once again we played a great second half, but it takes more than that to win football games.
We did not start off with a defense that was aggressive enough to set the tone early.
While we did stuff many plays, the Owls were able to put points up with more ease than they should have had.
On the offensive side, while we had improved our air assault, our passes were connecting, but in the wrong hands.
The Owls had one particularly large player, #50, who when a pass was thrown, his hands would shoot up, and the ball would usually land there, instead of in our receiver’s.
I could be incorrect, but I believe he had 5 or 6 picks in our game that relied heavily on passing plays.
As our coach tells us before every game, the game is won or lost on our backs, we are the dirty dogs, and while we might not get the glory, we have to perform at our highest level every game in order to win games.
You may not know, but I am a rather large guy.
People don’t usually have an easy time running through me, but seeing as I am tall I end up higher than many other players on the offensive line that I am defending.
That is an issue because leverage comes from being lower.
Player after play, the center for the other team was shooting off very low into my legs, which I didn’t like.
I switched my game up, and started to get lower.
As I did this I was seeing greater success, but early in the first quarter, he landed a hit on my with his helmet directly in my chest, bruising my sternum.
Now, if you don’t know this, that hurts ALOT.
I had it happen last year in lacrosse, and it hurt to breathe for a good 3 weeks after.
During the game I was finding it difficult to take a full breath because of the pain in my chest from the hit.
Our defensive coach could see I was hurting later on after the half when he had asked if I was alright.
I told him what was wrong, and he said ok, little did I know he thought it wasn’t.
He was worried that if I was to get hit in the chest again I would stop playing.
I told him that no matter what I was not going to stop.
He then proceeded to ask me if he hit me in the chest would it hurt, and I said yes of course, but last game I was pulled because of my shoulder, and there was no way I was going to give up.
I told him that he had to trust me, I said if you put me in and I stop, you can pull me out the next play, but I deserve to play, and I will play through the pain.
Coach Wick, did allow me to go in, and it did hurt, but I did not stop, rather came out with greater drive.
I was angry that their center had almost cost me my last game, so I came back with a vengeance.
As assistant coach and former play Hunter Helman told me, “he is getting lower than you right?… then just step aside and use his own momentum against him.”
I thought about it, and it ended up working.
After the ball was snapped, I stepped to the side, grabbed him by his jersey and used his own momentum to get him onto the ground, and proceed on hunting for the ball carrier.
I walked off the field, and saw my mom.
This was the first game she was able to attend because of health issues, and being hospitalized.
She walked over to me and said, “that just looked like you flicked an ant off of you,” to which I responded, “he shouldn’t have hurt me.”
This moment, rather this game, really showed me that I have changed as an athlete and as a person.
Last year was my first season of a team sports since I was probably 7 or 8.
I would have taken the first chance to sit out last year if I was hurt, and I would have let the other players walk all over me.
This year is a whole new person.
I will come after you if you come after me, I’m not going to sit by and let people run over me and my team mates.
In this game, your fellow athletes become your brothers, if someone hurts them, you want to hurt the person who hit them.
I begged to be put in, and I was, which my coach said he admired about me.
Last year I would “beg” to be put in because I thought it would make me look good, my coaches never would, and rightfully so, I wouldn’t have done a good job.
This year I have begged to be taken out to breathe, and I have been told no.
It is a complete 180 from last year.
Sports to me now are something I could not live without, they have changed my life.
Just this year I have gotten back into playing hockey, and am trying to pursue that further, and play up to my age.
My dad recently told me he has never seen me play hockey better than I have this year.
This new found love of team sports, and competing in contact sports, is something that the beginning of last year you could not have told me I would have.
I thank whoever it was that got me back into it, and I will forever be grateful to have played on this team with my brothers.
I look forward to next season seeing as we are only losing two players at graduation, and the brotherhood will grow.
Today we have one last game with a modified team for our non starting players so that everyone gets a fair chance at playing a game.
Hopefully it all goes well, but sadly this may be the last football blog of this school year.
I look forward to a season of rest and then lacrosse starts up again.
In this off season I will be doing so physical therapy, and most importantly playing hockey more and getting back in the gym.
To all of you who have supported our team this year thank you very much.
I look forward to next season, and hopefully we can put some more Ws up on the board.