Im not a quitter

Michael - Stanwood, Michigan
Entered on February 11, 2009
Age Group: Under 18

I believe I’m not a quitter. Some people say, third time’s a charm. For me, the third time is not the charm. I don’t try to complain to anyone, but it’s hard sometimes. I never really accepted the criticisms that my peers were giving me, but the third time, they were right. This happened to me when I was in 6th, 8th, and 9th grade. I loved to play the sport football. It was my passion as much as it was my parents. I played a lot, started most of the years I played, and enjoyed every second of it.

In the 6th grade, while playing in a game, mid-season, I pulled a muscle in my foot, called the Achilles tendon. This nagging injury made me limp whenever I ran. I never stopped playing football, but I went to the doctor once. My teammates let me have it almost every day, calling me some names I can’t put on here, and some I could, like faker and a little girl. Eventually it healed, but it was still nagging me. The picture of me in my teammates eyes, though, still hung with me.

In 8th grade, one of my better friends was thrusted at a 90-degree angle at my knee, almost bringing me to tears. But the boys were watching so I had to keep my cool as I was limping to the sideline. I never went back in for the rest of the game because I was limping so badly. People were still questioning my pain. I went to a doctor in Ann Arbor, a knee specialist that was recommended to me. He said I had agitated it moderately and to “Keep it elevated above your heart” and “Keep ice on it all day to lower the swelling.” I did these things, and was still never completely ready to get back on the field, so I watched my team, sadly, on the sideline with crutches the rest of the season. The eyes were still watching and judging me.

In 9th grade, as a freshman, I decided to go back to my sport. I wasn’t as fit as I was, taking almost two whole years off, but that didn’t slow me down. I started playing again and was on the second string, and eager to be first string. I made it through conditioning when I got hurt for the third time. I had a sharp pain start from my back, all the way down my right leg, and I can still feel it sometimes today, as a 12th grader. I had two pinched nerves in my back, which traveled all the way down my leg, causing pain any time I walked or ran. I went to a chiropractor and a physical therapist and fixed it within 3 months. I never found out the real reason it happened. My chiropractor said I grew too fast, growing about five inches in one month. My doctor said it was the football contact. They told me if I played football again, there would be a chance I could get paralyzed. So, my parents and I decided, we wouldn’t take that chance.

Of course, my fellow peers never understood the pain, or the reason why I never played football again. They didn’t need to, they just saw me as a quitter, and in some case, they were right. I never touched the football field with pads on ever again. My teammates play without me, making it to the playoffs as happy as ever, and I’m proud. I once played on that team, and now, I’m just that kid who quit, after faking my injury, but I know the truth. This I believe.