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Lesson Learned

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The idea of spending a week of summer away from home doing my favorite thing in the world, playing football, was a life long dream. I could have a whole week of freedom from my nagging parents and having the time of my life doing whatever I wanted with my best friends. I thought I would be living my dream that week, until I actually had to live it.

It was time for bed after our first long and grueling day of Camp Toro. Coach demanded us to get some needed sleep and not make a sound, but as teenagers we all think we can do whatever we want. So, of course, a huge wrestling tournament broke out with buddies slamming wildly into walls and full nelsons taking captive the weaker players. Laughter arose in no time filling the gym. Suddenly, everything came to a halt. Dead silence. The hair on my neck stood up, my heart rushed, and a bead of sweat trickled down my face. Coach had walked into the gym.

“I will give you one more chance to get come sleep and when I leave this gym, it better be dead silent! You hear me?! If not… oh this week will be long.”

Everybody, I mean everybody, all 300 of us were in shock. Getting that close to the threat of some unusual punishment could silence anyone. Lesson learned, right? Wrong. Games and conversations continued, and by this time it was 11:40p.m., over an hour past the time we were supposed to go to sleep. BANG! The door slammed against the wall. My heart stopped and I felt the blood draining from my face. Standing in the doorway was Coach. Steam came from his blazing face. Fire and destruction were in his eyes ready to pound us into the earth. He was struggling not to kill us right then and there.

“Shoes on! Outside! 30 seconds!”

My fingers flew faster then ever before as I laced up my shoes. My palms were clammy, my body shaking, and my mind racing, thinking of all the cruel consequences we might have earned. My dream of a fun week had turned into a nightmare.

“Start running.” screamed Coach. “I will tell you butt-heads when you can stop!” The air was chilled and caught my breath with every aching lunge. My head throbbed from lack of enough oxygen and my mind went blank. No thoughts came into my head, it was just a blur. We ran, and ran, and ran, and ran, and then ran some more. Finally, after who knows how long, coach blew his whistle and called us back into the gym. He didn’t say a word to us, and he didn’t have to.





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