We load the bus after our individual meetings with the coaches, one by one we take our seats, side by side to each other, like a family. We start to prepare mentally for the game before us.
It’s not quiet, a few underclassmen like Venus, Marcel, and Josh are messing around being louder than they should be simply because they don’t know any better, and they’ve never been in these situations before. Suddenly you here a loud noise out of nowhere you look up to see what it is, and its Juwan yelling at everyone one the bus saying “Shut the **** up!” It may be a little too much, but someone had to say it, everyone needs to focus and think and prepare for the battle ahead of them, and now that’s taken care of, the mood is set. I settle back into my seat and start staring out the window trying to focus on what I’m going to say to my team this Friday night when we take the field and everyone gathers around me viscously bumping into each other waiting for me to get them ready to play this game, ready to knock someone’s head off, ready to put everything they’ve been taught, everything learned from the ones that came before them, and everything they feel into actions, and put it all out on the field. It’s there heart. I’m interrupted mid-thought by Jamil. He holds out his hand to me and says ‘’Let’s do this baby boy! Let’s go!’’ and as soon as I see the aware look in his face, playful but serious, and strict tone in his voice, and the firmness of his hand shake, I know what I have to say, and I’m ready without a doubt in my mind, “I’m playing for you tonight fam!’’ I replied. We arrive to the field, I get off the bus and a warm breeze hits me in the face along with the scent of fresh cut grass, and my body tingles. I get goose bumps, and I say to myself ‘’It’s that time again!’’ with a big smile on my face. I go into the locker room, set my pads and helmet down, and walk out onto the field. I walk the whole 100 yards, and once I get into the end zone before I get back into the locker room I take a knee and say a prayer, just like every football game I’ve ever played in my life. It’s a tradition. Afterwards I’ll walk back into the locker room and go sit over by the white board that we drew plays on at half time, on my way there everyone high fiving me, hitting me on the back, coach Catloth (My Specific position coach, and assistant head coach) will usually walk up to me once I sit down and he’ll shake my hand and say ‘’You know you’re ready for this Nick, do your job and play the game with passion, and knowing that every time you suit up and walk out to that field it could be your last time, so play with a desire to put your body, mind, and soul on the line. If you do that you can’t go wrong no matter what you do.’’ Then Coach Richardson (Linebackers assistant coach) will come in to say the team prayer, we all gather around him, take a knee, and we all link hands and become one. He begins, “Our father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven, give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us of our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever. Amen.” We all stand up yelling and jumping around because we’re pumped up and ready to go, and the game is only 2 minutes