First Day

By
More by this author
It was Michaels first official day of football practice. Late August and he was only in sixth grade. I wouldn't say his first day of practice went as well as he wanted it to. It was only his first year in playing youth football; there were plenty of guys on my team that had been playing since third grade. So, they already had three years of experience; they actually knew what they were doing. Michael was the smallest guy on the team only weighing in at about 85 to 90 pounds, and probably only about 4'8 to 4'9 tall. He was too skinny, about as skinny as a noodle and there were fourth graders that were taller than him. That's what his friends would always say. They did a lot of drills, ones that he didn't even know how to do or never even heard of. That day was just not my day.

At first, Michael didn't even want to play football. But how can you blame him? The kid was only about 85 pounds. There were kids out there that were about 130 pounds. So all the bigger kids would crush him. After a whole year of watching his brother play, his mom, dad, and his younger brother convinced to play and see how he likes it. So then he decided to just try it out the following year.

The first drill they did was the worst one for me. They did a tackling drill. It was Michaels first hit he's ever experienced and it didn't feel good for him. He made the mistake by not going full speed. The other guy was going full speed. So Michael jogged up to the cones while he saw the other guy running full speed, he hits Michael really hard and knocked him to the ground. It was one of his worst feelings ever. He knocked the air out of him, he couldn't breathe for a while. Luckily, the coach called for a five-minute water break so that little Michael could rest.

Another drill they did was some weird cone drill. They set up four cones in the shape of a square 5 yards apart. First they started at one cone then ran to the one right in front of them, next they had to side shuffle to the next one, then they had to back peddle to the next one, and finally they had to turn and run. On the part where you had to back peddle, everyone got it right but Michael. He back peddled for a couple of steps then fell right in front of everyone watching him. The second time around, when he back peddled, Michael tripped and stumbled a little but never went all the way to the ground.

Route running drill was next. It was the easiest drill for Michael to do cause all you had to do was run and catch the ball. But first he had to lean all the routes. All the other guys knew the routes already. There were ten different routes. The zero route, the one route, the two route, the three route, and so on. The first route they had to run was the nine route. It was easy cause all you had to do was run straight. When the team got into the harder routes, like the zero route, it got a lot harder for Michael. He ran 5 yards, stopped and turned around waiting for the ball. The quarterback fired the ball at him really fast. The ball got to him and his hands weren't in the right place. The ball hit him right in the stomach and knocked the air out of him. That was the end of that drill for Michael. I sat out until the next drill.

One of the hardest things for Michael on his first day, they did at the very end. They did conditioning. The team didn't have run that much but since it was his first year playing, he was really out of shape. Michael couldn't keep up with everybody else who had already been in shape. He was only in front of like two other guys but that was only because they were around 100 pounds heavier than him. Michael wanted to throw up. Mostly everyone else on the team was doing it like it was nothing. He got embarrassed big time.

Michael wanted to quit football after his first day. The only thing that kept him from quitting is one of his coaches telling me to 'don't even worry about it, it happened to everyone there first year.' He also told Michael 'by the end of this season you will be a pro at this stuff so just keep practicing and you will be fine.' Now till this day, Michael is glad he stuck with football, because he got good at it and if he didn't, he wouldn't have experienced the state championship that he won his senior year in high school in 2008.





Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback