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The Locker Room
As the school bell rings at 2:52 on a Friday; young adults leave the school with happiness that the weekend has arrived, but the football team has something else going through their minds, it seems. As you see each player goes to the locker to drop off their books and retrieve their helmets, you wouldn’t be able to tell on most of their faces that there was a game to be played that night. Fitz and Brandon walking down to the commons for dinner just talking about what happen at during lunch and having a good laugh. Keyon smiles so big, as if he just got his first kiss. But then there is Lawrence, who as soon as he puts the books away is in a zone that no one can break. He puts the books in his locker and then puts his headphones in. His face shows absolutely no feelings: he’s not scared, angry, sad, or even happy. His eyebrows are in a relaxed position, and his face isn’t scrunched up. His mouth just hangs there, dumbly.
Once the team has all made it to the commons, the Patriots sit and talk to each other like everyone is an old college buddy. But once Coach enters, silence fills the air as not a peep comes out of one player. It becomes so quiet that you can sometimes hear the music that the players are listening to in their ears. But then you look at each face, and their looks make plain that the preparation for the game is about to begin. Each player shows no emotion within their face, all tending to look like Lawrence when he gets his headphones in. Alphonso says a quick prayer before the pregame meal begins.
After dinner is over some people begin to talk and tend to sit back, but others tend not to say a word. After the meal the players have some down time to do whatever, which most take the time to nap or just sit down and listen to their headphones. Zach Greco finds a spot in Gym B and puts his headphones in; lights out for him. There are no worries there. He sleeps like a baby; lying still, quiet, and pretty much dead to the world. His eyes aren’t shut tight as could be, but more along the line as loose as can be. Kameron picks out any old spot and listens to his headphones. He’ll start getting a little rock back and forth or get a little head nod going, grooving to the music in his ears.
Well, quickly as the team gets through our team meeting and the coaches have the team beak off and start getting dressed for the game. Now, all players are in their zone for the rest of the night. Once Barnabee has all his pads on and is ready to go he does one more thing; He heads grab his thick eye black and heads to the bathroom. He stares in the mirror and prepares to put his crosses on his face. He draws lines down his face then horizontally through the line drawn down. Then he stars into the mirror and his face begins to scrunch up a little as he prepares for warm ups. Finally, when everyone is dressed they head to the weight room and wait in complete silence. The lights are turned off and the only light in the is the sun which puts a shadow on their faces that would give an anyone a chill up their spine. Coach enters, switches the lights on, tells us to get ready for warm ups. Before they head out the doors, each player taps a Patriot sign. Within each tap of the players there is a statement being made. Some taps are light and not very rapid, but on the other head some slam their hands against it to show their passion.
After warm ups, the team enters the locker room, silently. Coach Blevins enters and closes the door behind him. The whole team takes knee and joins hands to say a prayer. Silence fills the room and the then the team begins in unison.
As they say, “Our Father, Who art in heaven,
Hallowed be Thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
Thy is the kingdom of the power of the lord
Forever and ever. Amen.”
Coach then starts a speech that he most likely had been thinking about for the whole week. The faces of the players start to scrunch up so much that wrinkles are visible. Eyebrows start to lower and mouths start to frown. As coach get to the end of his speech, players begin to stomp their cleats on the ground, as a beat starting out slow and becoming more rapid with each second. Then gets to the end and says the one thing that gets the team fired up.
Coach Blevins say, “Who’s House.”
The team response, “Our House!”
Then Coach yells out, “WHAT TIME IS IT!”
The team screams out, “GAME TIME!”
The team walks outside after the speech and it is crazy. Once outside players start bouncing around, faces scrunched up, and heavy breathing because of all the bouncing around. The team then lines up two by two and joins hands before walking down. Once we start to walk, the players are the only sound audible till they have reached the stadium; the sound of their cleats going click-clack on the cement. Then once they get right outside the gate so much is built up from everything done to prepare for that moment; they release each other hands, screams are yelled out and they run pass the crowd and the game begins.