I believe in playing football.
Ever since I can remember, I have been a skinny, breakable, fragile, human being. It’s not that I do not eat, for I truly love food, and it is not because I do not exercise, because I am an active athlete. My only guess to my un-Herculean physique is that God simply did not intend for me to participate in violent, potentially bone breaking activities a more muscular individual would partake in.
Despite this fact, I play tackle football every weekend. I love football and regardless of my size, I am proud to say I am a competitive football player. There is something beyond the fun of the diving catches, the bone crunching tackles, the adrenaline surging through my body in the split seconds before a big play; that appeals to me about football. It is the primal satisfaction of being able to use my body to its fullest potential, regardless of my physical shortcomings. In short, the reason why I love playing football is because even though I am not a hulking behemoth, I still play as fierce and intense as players bigger than me.
The first time my friends and I played football, we met at Franklin Elementary School’s field, a grass lawn encircled by a track where young children rode tricycles under the watchful eye of the trailing parents. But when we stepped onto the field, we were gladiators playing in a roman coliseum, with a crowd of thousands screaming for blood, blood that we were prepared to deliver. The eight friends who had all agreed to meet to play football had now turned to bitter enemies, each one ready to kill, maim, and dismember the other in order to win. I don’t mean this literally of course, but the intensity that first Sunday morning was ineffable, and it showed in the scrapes and scratches cut into bodies after the game.
Football is also my release, my escape from the sheltered world I live in. I live in Santa Monica, and while it is not Beverly Hills or Bel Air, it is a wealthy suburb that is generally protected from all disturbing and unpleasant aspects of life. I don’t have neighbors who are drug addicts, I am not in a constant struggle to eat, nor do I fear getting shot in every dark alley. It is this community of pleasantness, this watered down utopia that I live in that inspires me to get up every Sunday and play football, to disrupt the comfortable lifestyle I have grown accustomed too. My love for the game combined with overcoming my physical disadvantages lets me release more emotions during these games than any other activity could. Getting kicked and tackled by my friends reminds me that I am still capable of feeling pain and passion and glory, that life can be red and orange just as easily as beige. Football is my therapy, and I intend to keep this game up until I die.
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