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Decision of a high school career
If I’m going to tell this story I might as well tell it right and start at the very beginning. When I was a youngling I played just about every sport out there. My first word was ball and that’s all I wanted to do as a little kid, play ball. I began with soccer, as most kids do. Little three on three, co-ed soccer. I was the man at three on three. There was no one I couldn’t get around and when I wasn’t on the field I was wishing I was. Then came baseball. Americas past time. I thought I was pretty hot at that too. Hit a homer one time over the fence at Hinkley Park and I was on top of the world. Baseball was followed quickly by basketball which was then followed by wrestling.
So at one point I was literally playing 4 sports a year. Think about that for a second. I was 10, maybe 11 years old. Once one season ended I would already be started on the next one. But it didn’t faze me. I didn’t even think about it.
Then came football. Ah, the glorious sport of football. The closest thing to combat for a little kid. It was like a battlefield. You would go out there with your orders, and you would execute them. And if you didn’t there would be hell to pay, for Christ sake one of your men could go down out there. The quarterback was the general and you were to protect him at all costs.
I was the assassin on my first team. A linebacker. The man to go behind enemy lines and take out the general. I was pretty good at it too. Id run back there like a bullet and take him out.
Anyway, as the years went on and I moved from team to team, platoon to platoon, the coaches became more and more of assholes. My last two years were on the Falcons, the Park Ridge travel football team. My final year of football was in 7th grade, and the coach thought he was a hotshot. The three years before he had been a coach in the house league and had won three “championships” in a row with the same exact team every year. Like I said, he thought he was a hotshot. He decided to move his team up to the “big leagues” of the travel team and assumed he would continue to dominate with his team. He would run these drills at the beginning of the season to find out who should play what position. Little did I know, it didn’t matter how good I was, he was going to play the same team he had always played, no exceptions. It was fixed. So at these drills I would perform exceptionally, but no, I didn’t get the linebacker position. I was denoted to defensive end. I did my job as I was expected, but continued to want that position. It was useless. The positions were absolutely fixed. It was all about politics. But hey, it turned out great in the end for the coach and the team. We went 2-10.
Hotshot my ass.
So, as you might have assumed, that put a pretty bad taste in my mouth and I didn’t come back the next year.
During that same time I was undergoing a bit of a change myself. The years leading up to that last season I had quit all of the other sports I was in. I began to rebel. Around 6th grade, I started skateboarding and grew my hair out long. I made new friends and stopped talking to the kids I had known since kindergarten. I became a little punk. I spent my days at the skate park and didn’t want anyone telling me what to do. That next summer it was already football time again. My dad had signed me up for football but I refused to go. I didn’t want any part it in. I told kids who asked me why I didn’t go to practice that I didn’t want someone yelling at my all summer. I didn’t like authority to much that year. If you told me the right thing to do, I’d do the wrong. I didn’t care, My dad didn’t like my attitude to much as you can probably guess. He tried forcing me to go but I stood my ground. I was my own person. Like I said, a punk. As that year went on I began to feel the separation between “us” and “them” for the first time. I still talked to some of those kids who played football but we weren’t as close and we had once been.
Month ran to month and it became summer.
This summer was different than the summer before though. There was much more pressure to join the team that year. I mean its Maine South Football! State champs and everything! Don’t you want to be a part of that? Well, not really. I was comfortable with my position and I wouldn’t even consider giving up the freedom I had fought so hard with my dad over.
There is a big change in the kids who were on the team. In fact it was one of the first things I noticed. They walked around like they owned the damn place. It was as if they were brain washed over the summer. They became incredibly cocky. Turned into the stereotypical football player. And it only got worse.
It gets worse every year. I’m almost a senior now and I still can’t believe the high horse they sit upon. There are guys who I used to spend tons of time with all through my childhood who I haven’t said a word to in 4 years. I see them everyday but I guess things just change.
It all seems so artificial. You play football, you get the girls. Really? I never thought that’s how it actually was, but it’s the truth. They walk tall and are supposedly the kings of the world.
I’m almost convinced that in order to be a successful football player you need to have terrible taste in music. The worst music I have ever heard has been in the Maine South weight cage. Music completely void of real instruments. No talent need apply.
Sometimes I think what I would be like if I joined football. I like to believe that I am my own person and that I wouldn’t buy into the crap they do or how they act, but hey, who knows. I’m sure there are guys on the team that were like me when they were freshmen, but just changed to fit the crowd. There’s no way for me to know what I would be like. I’m just grateful that I don’t know and that I can try to live down to earth with the “un-cool” crowd.