I believe in hard work and helmets.
The last four years of my life have been full of sprinting, sweating, and angry coaches. The last four years have been the hardest ones in my life. The last four years I have been playing football. Football is the lifeblood of my family and that gene has been passed onto me. I dreamed of playing for the Kirkwood Pioneers since I was a toddler watching my older brothers smash through their opponents at Lyons Stadium. Finally, four years ago my dream came to fruition. I was a freshman in high school and I enlisted into the Kirkwood Pioneers football program. I knew that I was going have a lot of fun and hit some people, but I had no idea how football would change my life.
In the sweltering heat of late July, I arrived to football camp. By the time I had gotten my pads and helmet I was already dripping with sweat. This is when I realized football was going to be a lot of hard work. Being that all of my brothers were great football players and everyone knew my last name, I thought I was going be an instant star. Wrong. As a freshman, I was bad. I was a backup lineman on a team that won two games that year. It was then when it became apparent that to become a dominant football player I was going to have to kick it up a notch. I would have to put in hours of hard work and extreme effort every week. I began to practice with intensity and I trained relentlessly every day. By the end of the season it paid off and I won the starting defensive tackle position. I persisted in my strong work ethic and I continued to grow. My sophomore year I started both ways on the JV squad; my coaches didn’t let me stop there. They urged me to continue with my rigorous workouts. This included early morning conditioning at six in the morning which consisted of the coaches running us until we about puked our guts out; lifting weights until our bodies felt like rubber; and miles of additional long distance running. I did this every day, getting better inch by inch. Finally, by my senior year I was a first team all-conference and an all-metro offensive tackle for the number one ranked team in Missouri. I was also given multiple awards for my hard work and never-ending desire to become better. At the end of my junior and senior years, I was acknowledged for that time and effort I put in by being presented with the Alvin Miller Award (most improved player) and Wayne Cooper Award (110% Effort). I was extremely proud of my accomplishments and the time that I put into it made them even more rewarding. It was football that made me understand the great benefits of hard work and how it could change my life.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.