Every Friday night, people from my town come towatch me and my family. My family consists of 50 siblings in football equipment,10 of whom I consider my closest brothers. These are the kids I have grown upwith, and the ones I respect most. People do not know the hours we put in dayafter day, year after year, to get where we are, but every Friday night theywatch our games.
We played together on the freshman team, watching theolder kids on varsity. I wondered what made them so passionate, but as the yearpassed, I saw they were playing for a simple love of the game. Watching thosekids taught me everything I know about football, and soon I began to apply thoselessons to my everyday life. I have seen what it takes to succeed. The way I seeit, you just need dedication, will power, confidence and courage. Growing up, Ilearned that it does not necessarily take the most gifted person to get the jobdone, but the one who wants the prize more than the next person.
Thisattitude has helped shape who I am. What I have learned in football gives me theconfidence to succeed in life. My academic career is just the beginning of what Iam capable of, and I attribute my good grades to football. Football has taught meto strive to be at the top of whatever I do. No one will ever see me quit,because I simply won't. If I start something, I will finish it and do itwell.
"The man at the top of the mountain didn't fall there."This is probably the most important quote I have ever heard, and my brothers andI live by it. We work hard, and nothing is given to us. For most of the season,we cannot even practice on our own football field because other teams takepriority. Instead, we practice on a field behind the school with broken shells,dirt and very little grass, but this just makes us stronger.
Beforefootball, I would go about a task looking just to get through it. Now, I striveto see how far I can go. The blood, sweat and tears I have shared with my familythe past four years have taught me life lessons. I have been blessed with ahealthy body and mind, and football has given me the opportunity to improve thosegifts. I will always cherish my football experiences. To those who have neverbeen a part of the game, it is difficult to convey what I mean. My fondestmemories will always be of this team, and I know, just by looking into myteammates' eyes, that they feel the same way.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.