The first time I stepped on the field, I already knew that I was going to love the sport.
I always used to watch it on television and I knew one day I wanted to become a football player. I had watched my first game at the age of seven. My favorite player was Ray Lewis. I grew fond of the Baltimore Ravens, whose colours were purple and black. As the months went by I had started to wear purple and black all the time. As I continued to watch football I considered joining a league.
The first day of practice, they made us run until I was sick. We did 10 laps around the field, 100 push ups, and more sit ups and burpees than I could count. But after all the major running, we got to do hitting drills. Three people would stand in a line not too far from each other one person with the ball would have to run through all three people. This is how practice tended to end in hitting drills.
As the first game came around, I was put on defense in the position of linebacker and defensive-end. The coin toss was most nerve-wracking, leaving the decision of who’s on offence and defence to a coin. Defense was up and it was my time to shine on the field and show everyone my skills.
As I saw the ball snap, the action began immediately. I was on the left end and I sprinted forward and swam the guard on the offensive line. I started heading towards the quarterback before he could reach back and throw it down field. I tackled him, forcing him to fumble the ball. My team yelled “FUMBLE,” and everyone started jumping to the ground to recover it.
With everyone squirming on the ground, I saw the ball loose. I quickly ran to pick it up before anyone else could. I pick it up and my mind starts racing. With some quick thinking, i started running to their endzone. As I was running down the field for the touchdown I see someone tailing right behind me trying to catch up for the tackle. He lunges forward trying to strip the ball from me but he only skims my feet. As he falls I can see the end zone right in front of me as I step over the line for the touchdown. I start jumping up and down going crazy. I see my family in the stand cheering. I see my team yelling and rushing towards me to celebrate the touchdown I had got on the first play of the game.
Special teams is now up kicking the ball to the opposing team. The ball is in the air, then in the hands of the receiver. He starts sprinting down the field with the ball firmly tucked in his arm. I start heading towards him full speed as he heads towards me. It’s now a one-on-one. The collision from our helmets creates a huge bang. The receiver lays on the ground almost concussed. He doesn’t get up off the ground for about 3 minutes so the trainers rush onto the field to see what’s wrong. Everyone taking a knee for the man on the ground. He gets up and is assisted off the field. Everyone is clapping for the player as he is helped off. I started to realize that I actually injured someone.
Although it was unintentional, I started realizing my power.
As the game went on, we easily beat them. The final score was 21-3. The team came to a huddle to celebrate the win we just had on our first game. We formed a line to shake the other team’s hands as we slowly walk down the line. I see the guy I hit on the kick off and as we pass each other to shake hands he shoves me. Since I have a short temper, I push back and the entire team breaks out into a giant scrap. It ended pretty quickly after the coaches separated us. As we were walking back to the huddle to recap the game, I was so nervous. I thought the coaches were going to rip into me for starting the fight. It surprised me when the coaches congratulated me in front of everyone. They were so impressed with my performance, especially because it was the first game I’d ever played.
As I was walking back to my parents, they greeted me by telling me we were having a huge dinner when we got back home. I couldn’t wait because I was the most hungry I’ve ever been. To make it the perfect night, after a hard day’s work, I got to watch my favourite team play. It was a picture perfect night. The Ravens won 21-3, the same score as our game! I remembered how well I slept that night; there could have been a hurricane and I wouldn’t have even woken up.
But with the good, comes the bad. The next day I couldn’t even get out of the bed. I was so sore.
Although this is not a good example of sportsmanship, I know what I did was wrong. When he shoved me, I should have just let it go and carry on and not worry about it because football is a game about having fun and playing with your teammates; it’s not about fighting and arguing. But most of all the game was memory never forgotten and will always be with me.