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Middle School Football: My Springboard To Success

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It was very hard moving to a new town in the summer of 1996. This event meant having to attend a new middle school and re-establish myself in a new environment. Even though I had moved a couple times before, that did not make this time any easier. I still had to make new friends and ground myself all over again. Yet I had no idea the positive impact this move would have on me. Middle School, like most other middle schools, had an "in" crowd. At Mandalay, it was mainly the football players. After I started school at Mandalay, football tryouts were being staged. I saw this as a very significant event in my path through adolescence, a chance to get recognized by my new school, as well as a chance to make some friends and gain some glory along the way. Getting up one Saturday morning and going up to the school, I was very nervous about whether I would make the team or not. I've always had athletic ability, but since this was a new town, I was unsure about how my skills would compare with the other kids. Football tryouts were a grueling event. When tryouts started, it was explained to all of us that the coaches would run drills in order to gauge our individual skills, and then place us in specific position groups. After the drills, which I did exceptionally well in, Coach Jones placed me in the receivers group. He told me that I was extremely fast, and that I would make a good receiver. It felt so good, not only making the team, but being singled out by Coach Jones as one of the better players on the squad. Throughout the next couple of weeks, the Mandalay Wolverines held football practice every day after school from 2:45 until 5:00. We always started with some team stretching and then w... ... middle of paper ... ...mped on me and screamed their praises. I scored the winning touchdown on that day. The Mandalay Wolverines beat the Oberon Tigers 28-21. I had officially arrived. As what I deem as a direct result of that game, everything changed. I grew extremely confident, and in doing so, I continued to do well in sports and made many friends in the process. Without football, I am unsure what would have happened in 8th grade and beyond. But I do know that with football, my life became much easier and a lot more fun. I stopped playing football my sophomore year of high school, but I transferred my confidence on the football field to confidence on the basketball court. I had a varsity letter in high school basketball, as well as one more in track and field. Everything went my way. I cannot even imagine where I would be today without my middle school football days.
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