The rains came, and with them came the realization that we would not play the football game on Friday night in Gettysburg. The team still had high hopes for the game, even though it was postponed until the following night. We weren't really picked to win; however, everyone knew that the impossible might happen: Biglerville might beat the Warriors.
The game began a half an hour earlier the next evening and the field had dried off considerably. I had every intention of going out and playing a great football game right from the start. It was an extremely humid night, and the sweat rolled off my face. Warm-ups were pretty much like playing a game before the actual game. I knew that I would be in trouble because of the amount of energy we were exerting. It was not healthy at all.
The game began, and I was starting at fullback and linebacker, and with all of the special teams. Our team was not doing too badly, however, we were losing after one quarter. Our heads began to droop down onto our chests. The humidity started to work on me by the second quarter because I was playing every down without a break. I was losing a tremendous amount of fluids, and began to have dizzy spells. I knew that I had to get off the field for my own safety, and I pleaded with the coaches to let me take a short break just to regain my senses. They refused and I remained on the field.
There were three minutes left in the half, and the defense coach came out to "talk" to us during a time-out. From the very beginning, he stared at me while he yelled at us and put us down. I tried to maintain my composure as I wobbled on my jellified legs. He then finished off his speech by shouting at me to make more tackles.
I did not understand how I was supposed to play great football when I could hardly stand. The rest of the half went extremely slowly.
The teams jogged off the field and continued to the locker rooms. I didn't make it that far. I had to lay outside on the grass to cool off and get fluids back into my body. The ambulance picked me up about twenty minutes later.
I stayed in the E.R. for about three and a half hours with my parents and girlfriend while I had blood work done, along with other tests. I was really confused about the whole situation, and angry at the coaches because of their ignorance. I felt that I had not been respected as a human being, and that they were worried more about winning the football game than saving the life of a player. I left the team the following Monday.
I received mixed reactions from the team and fans of the team. Many supported my decision, but some showed their disapproval by not talking to me, which I think was childish. One of these people was a very good "friend" of mine for thirteen years and now has not talked to me for a month.
I am still very angry at the coach who came out to the huddle during the time-out. My dealings with him are not over; as for my so-called friend, I do not comprehend what scheme he's trying to pull, but like I said: it's extremely childish.
Throughout all the adversities of the past month, I feel that I made the proper decision, learned a lot about myself as a person and also learned who my true friends really are. t
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.