The mentality of the Team | Teen Ink

The mentality of the Team

January 21, 2020
By Anonymous

We finally made it. The place where everyone wants to be, where we worked so hard to get to. The place that we had in our minds when we were throwing away the end of our summer to be throwing up at practice. We weren’t supposed to be here, yet here we are, and we hopped off the bus ready. Everyone’s dressed like businessmen. The team set our bags down and the dogs smell them, looking for drugs. We passed. No one would be that stupid to risk throwing away everything like that. 

    They led us to the locker room. The same as last year. The same crappy, small, metal lockers that only have room for 30 people. We all know that the other team, the one favored to win, has the nice, wooden, spacious locker room that the professional players have. That just makes us want to win even more. I was one of the last ones in the locker room. I squeeze past the small doors and made my way to the corner saved for me. We got there a few hours early so there was a lot to do; some huddled around the small monitor on the wall, watching the game before us. Others, couldn’t handle the nerves and had to walk around the concrete structure. I just sat on a wooden bench that bent under the weight of my fellow linemen. 

    I stepped into the hall to join my teammates who couldn't stand to be in that enclosed space. I stretch my white jersey, that is 2 sizes too small, over my head; it’s a struggle that I had to do many times this season. The first time I wore this jersey I complained about how tight it was and how I needed a bigger one. This is the jersey that the losing team wears, nevertheless, it had started to grow on me as soon as we won our first game as an underdog. The jersey that we had proudly worn for the last 3 games and defied those odds every time and somehow got here, the state finals. This is similar to the last season where we made it here against all odds and played our cross-town rivals in the biggest game of the year. They were expected to beat us by at least 20 points. 

We also proudly wore the white and squeaked through with a victory and an unheard-of score of 3-2. Our opponents that we face in just an hour have the opposite story. They had never lost this whole season, wearing their bright red jersey all the way through the playoffs. Whenever they won, it was in a dominating way, by never losing the lead after taking it within the first minutes. 

I sacrificed so much to be here just for another shot at the title. From the hours of conditioning in the 80-degree sun to being at practice instead of with my family on Thanksgiving. This team means so much to me. Some have given up more than others. Some people tore their shoulders and others have gotten concussions just for the extra few yards that we needed. We all put the team above their physical wellbeing and this is the mentality that everyone has. I want to make a legacy and a name for Clarkston Football, a team that should be expected to win no matter the odds, no matter the skill difference, no matter the team. 

Everyone knew exactly who they were going against because we have spent countless hours watching their past games and imagining ourselves against them. They had way more skill 

than us and numerous seniors that are going to play college football at the highest level and we didn’t have any. But that didn’t scare anyone, it only made us want to beat them even more. Even I was headstrong going into this, knowing that I will have to line up just inches away from a man that is more than 100 pounds heavier than me, with his only goal being to get past me. 

    The team marched under feet of concrete that hold the stands above us. We step into the tunnel leading to the field. The energy was radiating off the field. We were led away into the offshoot tunnel that feels so much further away from the field that we all long for. All 80 of us pack into the smaller tunnel. Everyone is pushing trying to just get a glimpse of the field that has been in our minds since last year. We were ready for the fight.

The author's comments:

I am a junior in highschool and played football for 4 years. 

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