It all began in the early years, when elementary schools kids roamed my world. The time was recess, after school, which meant…football. I was never a great player in those days, but I desperately wanted to prove myself so I could get on the better team. I used to have the biggest butterfingers you would have ever seen. I tried every day after school to improve my already poor abilities. Even though it was a silly game of football, it meant much more than that to “the guys.” I believe that nothing is impossible.
I wanted to be the best, or at least good enough to gain some respect. I remember the first touchdown I ever scored, a long bomb over the middle, dropping right into my arms, into my stomach, landing softly. I felt good inside. I remember diving for a ball that wasn’t thrown to me and ending up on the ground knocked out for several seconds. When I regained my senses, there was a large circle of the other players hovering over me. I remember intercepting a pass and running it back for a score. I wanted to be noticed. Day after day, I was picked to the sub-par team, until finally I was on the” other team.” Boy, did it feel good. This was only the beginning of my walk through life.
Stepping out on to that dusty playground field was the highlight of every day. The sides were picked, emotions ran high, but after we were done, everyone had a smile on their face, no matter whether they won or lost. Sure there was controversy and little fights here and there, but it was all in good fun. We became picky with all the rules, hoping to swing the game in our direction if at all possible. Every little detail was questioned- did he catch the ball, did he cross the line, and most importantly, who won and by how much. Playing America’s game was definitely a hobby of all the guys who went to school. We came back dirty, grimy, and scraped up, but we, especially I, felt that the day was fulfilled.
This foundation is extremely important to me. Even if it was just football, it meant a lot. Scraping up the knees, getting involved in a little competition, getting dirtied up felt really good. Of course we grew up, moved on, and left football behind like it was yesterday’s news. But we still feel, and especially I, that football was what made us who we were. Elementary school was the time of all times. Getting on that playground field, surrounded by all the pretty girls, the swing set, and the slides was the place where I think I grew up the most, and I will never forget that. The taste of dust and grass will always be inside of me.
I think I became a better person during those days. I improved myself in athletics which is a big part of my life today. Ironically, I did not become a football player in my middle school and high school years, but a soccer player. Although it is football in a different sense, I still reminisce about the good old days. Whenever I step outside, whether it’s a football field, soccer pitch or basketball court, I remind myself that I used to be terrible at sports, and that I overcame the “impossible.”
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