Lessons from the gridiron
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I was in complete shock.
It was Saturday, Nov. 26 and I was at Waco ISD Stadium, my hands covering my face in disbelief to hide the tears. Just seconds earlier, my Coppell football team had just lost a heartbreaker in the third round of the playoffs, ending the season and my football career.
I hugged senior teammate Eric Loop. I hugged head coach Mike DeWitt. Then it hit me what had just happened. The sport that I had played for nine years was gone, just like that. After endless workouts and meetings and early morning practices, I would never be able to strap up a helmet and play the game that I loved so much.
Yet the impact of football on my life is something that has not stopped and never will. The lessons that it has given me has molded me into who I am today and who I will become.
“Football taught me so many things,” senior defensive back Austin Weathers said. “It taught me how to be tough and how to be responsible, and it gave me life skills that I will keep for the rest of my life. I wouldn’t trade [my playing career] for anything.”
The first of many lessons that I really grasped from football is teamwork. Now it may seem simple and overused, but there is nothing like lining up with 10 other guys on the field with one object in mind: either score a touchdown or prevent the other team from scoring. And especially as an offensive lineman, the teamwork within the offensive line is crucial to have any success.
Courtesy: Laura Schertz
Teamwork has shaped my life as a student and as a member of society. Every day, whether it’s a group project, carpooling to school, or even deciding where we should go out to eat as a family with my siblings, I have to work with others to accomplish a goal and football has given me that ability.
Football has shown me how to persevere and dedicate myself to something, especially when it gets tough. Throughout each before school practice that ended before the sun rises, each two-a-day in the blazing heat of August, each sprint drill that took every bit of energy I had left, I learned how to give my absolute best effort no matter what the circumstances where.
“As a coach I think one of my jobs is to show my kids how to be a competitor and excel and work hard at whatever they are doing,” Coppell football coach Mike DeWitt said. “Whether that’s in their job or academically, they will always have that trait to bow their neck when things get tough.”
I had to persevere through several injuries throughout my career, including a broken leg and a concussion in seventh grade, but what I remember built up my character most was persevering through scout team. Scout team, when heard by most football players, is followed with a cringe. It is where, as a freshman or sophomore, the younger players “scout”, or practice against, the varsity players.
My most vivid memory of scout team is my freshman year, when I scouted for the playoffs. I remember it being below freezing temperatures and getting pounded by the seniors on varsity, many of whom ended up playing football at the collegiate level. After enduring two weeks of the pain, while most of my friends did not bother to show up, I remember making a personal decision to go to practice no matter how terrible it was.
There is no reward for doing what I was told, but I started to instill a character trait within myself that set the foundation of who I am today.
Above all, I am appreciative of the relationships that I have made with my teammates. There is nothing like joking around with your teammates in the locker room before a game, and those relationships are what I will miss the most.
“The relationships I have grown with my teammates are stronger than any other relationship I’ve had,” senior football player Rodrigo De La Garza said. “I can trust anyone on the team with my life, and that is not something you can build anywhere else.”
Football is unique in the relationships it can create, the lessons it can teach and the morals it can provide. While the memories of playing will fade away as time passes, these aspects will not; they will stay with me for the rest of my life.