Ups and Downs of Sports

February 21, 2018
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My team had just scored a touchdown, and I could hear the parents cheering. It was only our first game, and we were already doing very well. For most of us, this was our first football game ever.

We had won the game, and we went through and shook hands with the opposing team to tell them “good game”. This was just second grade flag football, but we had a pretty skilled team for being so young.
Even though this team was a mix of Clinton and Northeast kids, we all got along really well, but it was unsure if we would ever talk to any of these kids from Clinton ever again after flag football was over. For me, I would.
3rd Grade Basketball

The 4th grade travel ball coach had called my parents to see if I would be interested in playing up a grade with the 4th graders. Right away, I had said yes because I had never played basketball before, so it was very exciting for me. I was scared of going to play with people I did not know very well.

When I got to practice, I realized that I was not the only kid from my grade playing up. One of my good buddies, Nate Lange, was also playing with the 4th grade team. I asked him how he had gotten on the team, and he told me, “The coach called my dad and asked if I would, and then my dad also suggested you”. This made me feel good because then I knew I had a friend there with me.

Our team was really good, and we only lost 1 game during the whole year. All we could dream about then was having that kind of season once we got to high school. We are all still dreaming.

3rd and 4th Grade Flag Football
Our team was the best team in this flag football league. We beat everyone and hadn’t lost a single game. There was a “Super Bowl” game that we were in, and we were playing Camanche. All game it was back and forth, just score after score. Then a kid from the opposing team scored, but he had jumped before he was in the end zone and in flag football you cannot leave your feet if you have the ball. I had reached for his flag, but I felt nothing because he had jumped and the flag was out of reach. Our coach started yelling, “He can’t do that! That is not a touchdown and you need to bring it back!” He was very upset because the refs were not calling the game right.
We ended up losing the game, which was our first loss. Camanche only won by one touchdown, and it made us very upset. Then again we were also happy with the way we had ended our flag football days. The next year we would be playing tackle football. Hopefully beating Camanche and getting revenge. All of us knew how different tackle football was going to be and we were nervous. Would we be as good as we were in flag football?

4th Grade Basketball
This year of basketball was a whole new story for Nate and I. We had to play with our grade this year, and it was not good. This team only won about three games, and no one was really developed yet, so that made it difficult. All I could think was, “I really have to deal with this until I’m out of high school?” It was a rough season, but we all still had a lot of fun together and made some great memories. 
Still was hard though because I wanted to be on a good team, but this was only the start.

5th and 6th Grade Tackle Football
I was scared. My first year of tackle football and it was a lot different. Especially since we had huge sixth graders on our team. I was just a small fifth grader trying to score touchdowns and not get tackled.
Once games started, I was doing pretty well with the whole tackle football thing. I scored one touchdown my fifth grade year, and our team won the championship. We beat the team that had killed us the first time we played. It was exciting for all of us. All of us were screaming and yelling, “We are the champions!”
Then sixth grade came, and we didn’t have our big boys anymore because they were in middle school now. This meant that more people had to step up and play big roles on the team. That year I scored a lot of touchdowns and we weren’t as good as the year before but we still had a winning season. We all were excited for when we got older because we knew we would be pretty decent. I guess that was just a thought.

8th Grade Basketball
My grade was at the state basketball tournament in North Liberty. To win the championship, we had to win all three of our games, and we did. My best friend Braeden was dunking and tearing it up and we beat everyone by at least 15 or 20 points. Our team had really improved over the years, and it was exciting. Our coach told us, “I am very proud of you guys and at how much you all have improved. Keep working hard”.
I could not wait to play with my classmates in high school. But once high school came, we all got put on different teams, and some people quit. Would we ever all play together again?

High School Football
I was starting my first varsity game as a freshmen, and I was nervous. Especially since we were playing our biggest rival, Camanche. I was only playing defense, and I knew I had to work my butt off because I was one of the smallest kids out there.
The quarterback had snapped the ball, and I began going at him. He tried to escape, but I dove for his legs, and I could just feel the moist grass, I thought I had missed. Then I looked and he was down and my teammates were running at me and screaming, “Let’s go!” I had gotten my first sack. That was just the beginning.
Throughout my first three years of high school football I had a lot of success, but the team hasn’t as a whole, and it’s upsetting. Some people that should be out for football aren’t, and it’s hard to be good. We still work hard and try our best. With one year of football left, I am ready for a change. Will the football program turn around for my last year?

High School Basketball
It was my first ever high school basketball practice, and I was ready to show the coaches what I was made of. But at the end of our first day of two a days, I did not think I could make it. I still had 4 more days of having 2 practices every day. My hips were bruised from diving on the floor, my legs were so sore, and my mental toughness was being put to the test. Even though I never got to get a varsity jersey my freshmen year, I was still happy with where I was at. Good thing I had some good leaders to get me through my first whole basketball season.

Coach called my name, he wanted me to go in. I was way beyond nervous because this was our 1st district basketball game, and I hadn’t played that much all season. After a few short minutes of being in, I hit a three pointer. Then not much longer after that, I hit my second three pointer, and the crowd erupted. I was really on my game I could tell. I then made an amazing pass to my good friend Luke Empen, and everyone was in disbelief on how the heck it got to him. But that was not the end, I got the ball again and I was pretty deep, but I didn’t hesitate to shoot it, and it went in. My coach was screaming, in a good way, “Keep it up! Don’t slow down now!” I carried this momentum into my junior year where we are hoping to have a better outcome than the past few years. We all want to get past that sub state game, but no one knows if it’s going to happen or not. 

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