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Monday morning I woke up at seven fifteen. I did my usual routine: brushed my teeth, with my super cool Superman toothbrush, took off my underwear, and hustled into the shower. I washed my hair first with Aussie Moister control shampoo. After that, I washed my face. I finished my shower by washing my body with Dial Body Wash. I dried myself and put in my contacts.
I put on the clothes, which I had put out the night before just to make sure I had all the things I needed for the next day: money, wallet, phone, and my mp3 player. I put on my pants, white shirt, socks, and last my size large, number 10 jersey. Most people put on a jersey like that one but do not think anything of it, but, to me that is one of the best feelings in the world, to me putting on that jersey is like when warriors are getting ready for battle and they are putting on their paint and feathers, sharpening their spears just preparing for the battle of their life. As I put it over my head I thought of all I had done in this one, shirt. all the great times and all the bad times, the wins and the loses. I think of what I am going to do in the shirt: I think of how many touchdowns we are going to score tonight; I grab my bag and leave my house.
As I drive to the school, I think about who we are going to play tonight, what kind of offence are they going to run, what kind on quarterback do they have? I always like to compare myself to the opposing quarterback just to see if I am better. I usually am better than all the JV quarterbacks. After all that thinking, I put in my favorite CD. The first song on that CD is one of my most favorite songs, “Bite to Break Skin” by Senses Fail.
As that song was finishing up I was pulling into the school parking lot. I quickly exited my car with my orange Nike bag that has all my apparel for the game.
I walked into the school knowing that a lot of people were going to watch our game tonight, with my head held high. I went to the locker room to put my pads and clothes in the locker for later tonight. After, that I went to my first hour class because the five minuets bell just rang. After what seemed like days the bell for fifth hour had rung and that meant lunch. That meant my favorite class Algebra 2 with Mrs. Marshal. In that class we are one of the last groups to go to lunch so by the time she dismissed us, I was really hungry. I ate all my lunch and was full. This was when the game really started to get to me. From that point on in the day the game was all I thought about. Every little detail of the game and what I was going to do before the game, ran through my mind. So, from then until the end of the day, that is all I was thinking about. I could not remember one thing we talked about in class. I know the teachers did not like that but I could not help it. It was GAME DAY! The most exciting day. The only thing I remember is talking to coach Banks in Chorus. Mrs. Atwood let me go talk to him because I was not singing very well. After talking to him for what only seemed like minute, the bell to end the class rang.
It was eighth hour and I had American history, the one class in which I really needed to pay a lot of attention. I was lucky because Mr. Roush was letting us have a free day. I think the whole hour he was checking tests. But, I really did not care I did not have to worry about his class; therefore, I could stay focused on the game. And, that was all I was focusing on.
The final bell rang for the school day to end. Most of the students would get on the bus and go home. For me, the day was about ready to begin. I was walking out of the school doors by the band room when a couple of guys asked me if I wanted to hang out with them until the game, but I told them that I want to be alone until the game. I was. I always liked to be by myself. I found out that the more fun I have before a game, the worse I play. So, I did my usual thing: go down to Circle B get a six inch white ham and cheese with mayo. I was trying to read the newspaper while eating my sandwich. But, that was not always possible. I was always excited for the game, but this night I was especially excited because it was Mediapolis. In baseball, they killed us so I really wanted to beat them.
I finished trying to read the newspaper and eating my sandwich. I slowly walked back to my car and drove back to the school. I reached the school parking lot. I put in my CD that I had made for before a game and just sat there until about the third from the last song was about finished. I quickly left my car and walked into the locker room.
By this time I was ready to go, but I had to wait. I took off my pants and my shirt. I sat down, while looking into the lockers, in my underwear. I just stared, for no reason. Thinking I dazed off into the lockers. Thinking, thinking about the plays, how we were supposed to run them, how was I going to throw the ball, were we even going to win?
I did not know. Nobody knew.
By this time everyone was here, in the locker room. They had on their pants and socks, and whatever shirt they wore underneath their football pads. I was getting my ankles taped. Talking to Mr. Banks always relaxed me before a game. He always found a way to make me feel like there was no way in h_ _ _ we were going to lose. That feeling is like no other feeling in the world. Knowing that you can not lose is like being Superman.
It was five fifteen and it was time to go into the gym for the pre-game pep talk. I arrived in the gym in a daze. Coach Banks went through special teams, offense and, defense. Then it was time. Time for the pre-game warm ups, time to strap on the shoulder pads and helmet, time to throw the warm up passes and do some play recognition. That went by really fast as always, but there was no excuse for me not to be ready. I had to be ready, I was the quarterback, the leader, the Capitan on the field. I am like an Admiral commanding the troops at war, and that was what this game was going to be, WAR!
As we were walking to the field through the small gate by the high jump area, all I could think about was, be smart. Don’t throw interception, no fumbles, absolutely no turnovers. Play smart.
We arrived out there and did our pre-game stuff. I threw some warm up passes. They felt really nice. The ball was sailing through the air that night. I was getting good spirals on the ball. The ball was going strong for forty-five to fifty-five yards. My receivers were catching anything, and everything I was throwing at them.
The captains were called to the middle of the field to shake hands and to do the coin toss. I shook only one of the guys hands because the other two did not stick their hands out to shake mine. We lost the toss and they wanted the ball first; therefore, they wanted us to kick to them.
I do not play much defense. So, I stood there on the sidelines waiting for my chance to get out on the field. I had to wait awhile because our defense was having a hard time stopping their running game. Finally, they stated to pass the ball. Thank God because they had no passing game. Their quarterback was a short guy who could not throw very far. After a forth down failed conversion, I had a chance to get the offense on the field. Our first dive ended with a fumble by Anthony.
I finally had another opportunity to score at the very beginning of the second quarter. Mr. Plecker and I had been talking about what plays to run for the next series of offense. The first play we decided was one that was my favorite play. (Flex 2992) I jogged out to join my teammates in the huddle. As I was jogging out there I closed my eyes. I remembered the first time I had put on my helmet. That wired smell of sweat and blood, the smell of victory and defeat, the feeling of going undefeated ran through my head. The first loss I had. At Pekin 8th grade year I threw an interception with two minuets left in the game. We were down by three. I still have not forgiven myself for throwing the interception that cost us our perfect season.
I arrived to the huddle. I looked up to tell everyone the play. I could see it in all my teammates eyes. I can not describe it. I can just sense it. I could see it in all their eyes the look that they trusted me to make the plays and to lead them to a win.
“Flex 2992 on one ready break.”
Looking directly at the safety I walked up to the line. I knew that he was going to look bad. I was going to make him choose Jordan or Kelby, and whichever one he chooses I am going to throw to the other one.
“Red 46,” I look left. “Red 46,” I look right.
“Ready. Set. Go!” I screamed. I took the snap, dropped back, looked right at the safety. He took his three steps back, looked at Kelby coming to the right of him. He did it. He chose one. It was my turn. I threw the ball about forty yards in Jordan’s direction, but I couldn’t see it land. I was slammed to the ground by a linebacker.
I heard a bunch of cheering. So, I knew something good had happened. I stood up to see what had happened. I looked downfield to see that the ref was signaling a touchdown! I ran down to give Jordan a high five and to tell him great catch. I ran as fast as I could. I ran down there and he was all smiles. It is a rare thing to see him smile, but that moment was so amazing. There is nothing like it in the world. That was the happiest moment of my life: throwing a touchdown to Jordan, and winning a game against Mediapolis. The one team I saw on our schedule I was really worried about. The final score of that game was Van Buren 12 Mediapolis 8.