The light crept in the window as I looked at the clock. I knew it was street lamp light and not sun light because of the audacious hour, but I also knew that the screeching alarm meant it was time. I rolled out of the covers and into some clothes. The breeze against my face contrasted with the warm morning air woke me up a little bit . When I got to the locker room, people were already there. No one said a word. It was too early to speak. Everyone nodded at each other in acknowledgement that we had made it without being late.

We slowly put our pads into our pants and got ready for the team meeting. Everyone sat on the floor or in lockers anticipating the words. After the team meeting there was a position meeting. There were always meetings. Early in the morning, in the middle of the day, late at night. There was always something to improve in our technique, in our play calling.

After the meetings, we put the rest of our equipment on and all together walked out to the practice field. The dew, it seems, had just settled on the ground, trying to make the morning more miserable. Everyone went through practice with the same mind set: ‘I just gotta get through this next drill and then I have X number of periods of practice left’.

We never really realized the truth to what we were doing. We chose to play this sport, and we chose to play on this team. No one was forcing us to do any of it. If at any time we didn’t want to do it we could have walked away. So why everyday did we dread the practice that was “forced” upon us?

I look back at that dewy morning often. Wishing instead of remaining silent with my brothers in the earliest hour I would have spoken, and instead of dreading every practice as if it was torture realize that I was getting to play the sport I love everyday. In the end we all have to leave our team. The family that is built with sweat, suffering, tears, and laughs is not permanent. A new phase of life presents itself to me and my fellow teammates who have moved on. One where we will have the choice to either grudgingly be dragged through, or willingly run for the bus.


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