Football Forever This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

   I can still hear the roar of the Friday-night crowd as I stand in the emptystadium. I look to the practice field and remember all the long, hot summer daysand the cold fall and winter days. The voice of the coach still rings clear,yelling for us to do the plays over and over. I hear the crack of the padshitting each other. There in front of me stood the ropes. Sure, it was nothingbut some rope strung together to make some odd-shaped squares, but through theendless hours of agility drills those ropes had become part of our team. All theshapes and sizes represented the diversity of our team: the short, the tall, thestout, the scrawny and the in-between.

On my way to the top of thebleachers I remember looking up during a Friday-night battle and seeing thetownspeople screaming for us. Win or lose didn't matter, they enjoyed watching usclash heads. As the screams fade, I am left alone to ponder what will happenafter high school. I pray and dream about playing at the next level, although mydreams will inevitably remain just dreams.

Sitting on the cold, hardbleachers I realize now why my parents brought blankets to sit on, though theyvery rarely sat down. They just needed something to soften the blow ofdisappointment.

Making my way back onto the field I see the Outlaw headon the 50-yard line, the one thing that symbolized freedom to me. With my freedomcoming to an end, I sit and sob. I never really cry, but I have never felt sopassionate about anything.

Sitting there, I realize I am not alone.Thousands of seniors have been where I am now, knowing their time is almost up.But no matter what, there is always going to be another chapter. Now it is mytime to let the new class of seniors through to write theirchapter.

Leaving the stadium I feel good knowing I have left blood, sweatand even my tears there. Football is forever; all players before me have thoughtthis. Football lasts a lifetime. My final steps off the field were ones of prideknowing that one day I will return as a spectator, though I will never again setfoot on the field as a player.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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