It was a Friday night in small town in Indiana. For some people, that meant getting off school, going home, only to watch TV and go to bed late. We, Eastbrook football players, are not some people. That night, we went to battle. Being prepared would be an understatement. We were physically and mentally ready to play.
The day started at 8 o’clock, the beginning of school. The day was a blur. I walked from class to class, visualizing scenarios on the field, thinking over my plays, and wondering what the outcome of the game will be. The teachers didn’t know it, but on Friday, they could’ve held up a sign all class period that says “free money”, and I wouldn’t have known it. My mind was elsewhere, and nothing could break me of it. I was ready to play.
School got out at 3 o’clock. I got in my car, and began to unconsciously drive to get something to eat. I arrived back at the school around 4 o’clock, parked my car, and sat there for a second. I knew that once I stepped out of the car, it was all business from there on out. I got out of the car, and entered the locker room. I then sat down, ate, and talked about the game with my team. At 5 o’clock, I started to get anxious. As the music blared in the locker room, I went through my own mental process of getting pumped up and ready to go. At 6 o’clock, I put on my jersey on my shoulder pads, and admired it. As I looked at the jersey with EASTBROOK written across the chest, and the number 3, I realized that I am not only playing for myself. I am playing for my teammates, and everyone who supported us. After getting geared up, we took the field to warm up.
We jogged out and glanced across the field and got some looks of confidence from the opposing team. To clarify, false confidence. They knew what we are capable of, as it prevailed during our undefeated regular season. While we warmed up, we caught punts, ran over plays, and went over defensive coverages. Through long hours of studying and practicing, we were prepared. We went back in the locker room, turned back on the music, and waited for coach to give us a speech that will get us focused and ready to go. As we walked out, we held hands with the guy next to us and took the field. The crowd was loud and adrenaline was building up in our bodies. Team captains went out, did the coin toss, and the game began. Boom. The kick was off.
We received the kick, our offense worked down the field, but were later forced to punt the ball. The defense got sent out on the field. We instantly drove back their offense, not giving them the slightest hope to score. They punted the ball, and we were once again on offense. What happened on the following play, I will never forget.
We lined up in our formation and a play was called in from the sideline. The field lights were gleaming off the field. The crowd was screaming, the fans rang their cowbells, coaches were calling in plays, and the defense was screaming out the formation. Set, hit!
The ball was snapped, and I took the handoff to the right side. I went inside, then bounced it back out, and saw nothing but empty field ahead of me. Seeing nothing but green to run on feels as if you are the only person on the field, and nothing can stop you or get in your way. Invincible, almost. When I ran through the gap to open field, everything that I heard before, went silent. I couldn’t hear the fans. I couldn’t hear the cowbells. I couldn’t hear the coaches. My adrenaline was flowing through my body so significantly that I could only hear myself breathing, and my racing heartbeat. To the 50. Thump thump. To the 40. Thump thump. To the 30. Thump thump. To the 20. Thump thump. To the 10. Thump thump… Touchdown.
I ran through the end zone, pointed to god, and thanked the one who had blessed me with the ability to do such an act. Then I turned around, and saw everything. Suddenly, the sound hit me. It was as if I just walked out of a soundproof box into a crowd with screaming fans. Like a TV, my ears changed from mute to full volume. All at once, I heard the fans screaming, the cowbells, my teammates celebrating as they ran toward me, the coaches calling for the point after team. The experience was life changing. As we continued to play, we won by a score of 54-6. I will never forget that play, under the lights on Friday night, with my brothers by my side.