Updated: Aug 26
A lot happened in 8th Grade…
Autumn 2006 | 8th Grade | Football Training Camp | Day One
New territory. Everything is unknown. But I know of a hyperlink straight to the top of the social ladder…
I leave the locker room and walk to the Practice Field. Full of anxiety from not knowing how to react or what will happen, I go into silent mode
Oh ok great… we have a black coach!
I walk straight up to him as if I had no choice.
“What position you play?”
“…” I look around. The QB just slung a deep dime… Wide Receivers stack the deck… “Uhhh, Runningback?”
“Ok, just go over there with Coach.”
It didn’t seem like the RB position was deep, so I just chose RB.
I have played football since elementary school. It wasn’t about the position anymore. It was about the opportunity to reach the conscious athletic levels I reached in public school PE and summer camp. It was about pushing myself to reach the level of those I looked up to in the beginning of my football journey…
Practice was a breeze.
Everything was smooth.
Until all of a sudden, the middle school practice field wasn’t big enough for sprints…
Is my new coach tryna intimidate me? Does he think a bigger field will stop this motion? … oh how the great have fallen.
We get to the Varsity Practice field and line up for Gassers:
Line up on the team’s sideline.
Run across the field to the opposing sideline and run back.
(2x)= 1 Gasser
Alright… I know what I said before, but now y’all wild’n…
The coach blows the whistle.
I take off out the gate…
I never knew sprints to be anything other than a competition. Who has the most grit? When you are tired, can’t go any more, or sore; who will push themselves to their edge?
As if I had blinders on, I am sprinting across this field with nobody in my peripheral vision. Assuming closeness, I continue to sprint.
I reach the opposing sideline.
I bend down to touch the line, facing the coaches as I turn around, and begin to sprint back the opposite direction.
When I turn my head to jump back into tunnel vision, I noticed the rest of the team is only halfway to where I just touched down.
Just as quick to that realization, I place it in the back of my mind…
All mid-sprint… As if I’m being carried by the wind…
I touch the home team line at the same time the rest of the team touches the line I just came from.
I lapped the whole team in sprints.
My fate is sealed…
Mid-Stride, I strained a muscle in my hip…
I limp through the rest of the sprint.
I am aided by the athletic trainers.
I begin a new journey…
The road to recovery.
| Midway through Training Camp |
As the team practices, I grind in the gym.
The trainer throws every exercise she can at me, approaching the edge of a fear of breaking me…
“Johnson… we are done for today.”
I get up.
I begin to gather my belongings and leave.
“Wait! Uhh… Did you know how rigorous that workout was? Everybody else here would have been throwing up about halfway through…”
“Haha Oh wow… that’s crazy,” as I turn to leave.
I hope I’ll be ready for Game 1.