Practice

December 2, 2011
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The giant, golden star high in sky reminds you of its presence, as it forcibly announces it on the back of your exposed neck. It is not the same warmth you felt when you were free of all the intolerable weight that consumes your body. The force that is applied not a physically tormenting pressure applied upon your body. It is however, a tightly fitting shell, with multiple layers of armor, protecting your vitals. These valuable instruments you wear acquire a distinct odor through multiple uses. Though familiar to you, it does not cause a problem, it is foreigners who cover their noses and complain. At that moment, you do not notice that the equipment does everything but hinder your performance. It restricts not a single movement one might need to make. What makes it uncomfortable is the affect it has on your body. It magnifies the heat of the sun. When one is motionless, they might feel the heat radiating up from their chest to their chin, sending a chill down their spine.

The always-hot terrain on which we spend a third of our day is very little from being called a barren wasteland. Abandoned tires with unwanted vegitation springing from them decorate the far side of it. Small but deadly craters not too far from there have caused a many ankle injuries for those who are not weary of them. The rolling field is not that of a prairie with bountiful life and beautiful flowers but more resembles that of the fields the Okies left behind in the pursuit of a new life. The surface upon this wide space is riddled with once alive, but not so much anymore, plant life. Loose sediment, which was displaced by the many that traversed these fields on a daily basis, is also found there. This destination is a required stop, six times a week, for any and all who participate in one of the greatest trials known to man. One of the greatest past times known to the greatest Nation in the world. The amount of time a gifted and brave individual would have to participate is always limited. You will never again be able to play under the Friday Night Lights after your maximum time allotted, which is four years, has passed. As long as that massive, ball of energy aluminates the sky during the day, this will always be true.

And because the nature of the beast, it requires all this time for preparation. Proper technique is as critical for success as the protective equipment. So thus, we spend the countless and limited, minutes of our youth. Not only this, but we put ourselves through the gauntlet by just being a part of it. Running the tables every single play, not knowing if a life altering injury may occur. So we go to work. During the season, it is live. Every week a new opponent with a new scheme, and we labor to perfect our plan of war on the field of preparation. We tough it out through the fall, and in later November, we finish one season, and start the next. December is our month of recuperation. We heal our wounds we sustained during our months of war and rest our bodies. The first week we return to our institutions of learning after the holiday break, we resume our quest to conquer all, and crush any opposition in our path. During this transitioning period, one works to physically better themselves. During the remainder of the school year, you would have afternoon lifting sessions. During the summer, it intensifies. Hell visits us three times a week, at 7:00am till 9:00am. You walk in the gymnasium, and immediately fell the anxiety in the room. Teen males of different ages and different sizes are all in the front gym, huddled in little groups. The naïve ones run around playing with balls and doing all sorts of antics. The older and wiser players, the veterans, huddle around and converse. They discuss the previous day’s workout and its effect on them. They also try to predict the upcoming challenges, hoping for the best while mentally preparing for the worse.

Now fast forward about 15 minutes and you see the court bursting with motion. Exhausted figures dart back and forth, through agility ladders and speed cones. You hear the roar of the Trainer, over the loud grunts and labored breathing, to press on. “Keep it up!” “Go Faster!” “If you are going to run like that, you can go home now!” After an hour of agility training, they walk into this large, narrow room, mirrored room. Inside this place are stations, and on these stations are weights. The real training is about to begin. The mass walks to a table to receive their workout papers and commence the workout. You see a similar seen to that as in the gym. This time, it is more graphic. The constant and reoccurring thuds that shake the ground you stand on, is one of the first thing someone notices. The intense yelling and grunting of those trying to force the weight up accompanies this sound. You feel the humidity rise due to the many laboring bodies sharing one room. After an hour that feels like an eternity, we are released to enjoy the rest of our day
. We all have reasons for doing this. To stay in shape, play with friends, get girls, and many other reasons.
Though with all the different motives, we all seem to have one in common. The same reason drives us to sacrifice all we do on the account of this. Why we physically maim our bodies and ignore all natural senses telling us not to hit someone. The sacrifice of much needed time for sleep to undertake the task of homework, knowing if we don’t take care of our school work, the privilege will be stripped from us. We trade all these things for that feeling we get every Friday night. The feeling you get when you run out of the tunnel, onto the field, with the roar of the stands and the band playing the school song. The energy on the sidelines and the field can be felt in the air. The sheer joy accompanied with every touchdown and the swelling anger with the urge to try harder when the opposing team accomplishes the same feat. We trade a lot, and more if we would have to, just to play this glorious game we call football.





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