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Our Time to Shine by Daniel Richardson

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Our Time to Shine by: Daniel Richardson

It is a Monday morning, July 23, 2009. An exceptional amount of curse words are mumbled out of my mouth, while jumping out of bed, realizing that I am late for the first two-a-day practice. I didn't have much planned for the next two weeks of my life. Summer practice would ruin any events that I even thought about accomplishing for that day. We had two-a-days for the next two weeks. This is when a team practices, usually conditioning, twice in one day. These two weeks could be considered death to some, who are not well conditioned. Especially being in the Hendersonville, Tennessee area because it has to be the most humid place on earth. "Quit all that half-assin' out there, boy 'fore I find someone to take your spot!" The coach would threaten all of the starters, to make us work even harder.

I started at strong safety or what we called a Rover, which is a defensive player that covers the men on offense that are going out for a pass. I could also cover the "flats", which is for the shorter passes on the left and right side of the field, but my favorite assignment of all is to "rush the quarter-back", or sprint off the line of scrimmage once the ball is in play and make an attempt to tackle the passer before he gets rid of the ball. I played slot-back in the wing-t on offense, which is like a running back that receives the hand off from the quarter-back or can go out for a pass. Playing both defense and offense means that I was a major contributor to the team so I had to work extra hard in the off season and in practice to be a benefit to the team during the game.

Summer practices were like working out with the devil in his backyard. It would be completely normal to look out across the burnt yellow, brownish practice field grass and see one of our teammates bent over, hands on their knees, throwing up whatever they had for breakfast. These were usually the players that were in the worst shape and could not handle the intense drills that our coaches had us performing. Every time we heard an elongated whistle blow followed by "Water!" it was as if God came down and rescued us from the fiery pits. Coach Crabtree, our head coach, always made sure we were well hydrated during practice. You could see his red bald head glistening from all the sweat, and by the end of the day, his pit-stains would run all the way down to the bottom of his shirt. Occasionally you would hear, "Getchur' head out of that water cooler! We ALL tryna' drink some of that, we know it's hot out here! Suck it up!" from our head defensive coach, Coach Powell. He would always get on to us for our outrageous antics.

Throughout the summer, I would get frustrated because I felt like the coaches wanted us to be perfect, while I knew that nobody can be perfect. I later came to realize that it was the repetition that the coaches wanted. We practiced what to do in certain situations so much that it became natural to us by the end of the summer. Coach would make sure everything was to his liking. If it wasn't right, oh man, you better hope you'd get it right soon because after a third attempt and you still didn't have it, Coach would make you run until HE got tired. Once he blew the final whistle, it was as if he was saying, "Alright I'm satisfied for right now".

If I could tell someone how to be successful in football, or just in general, I would say it all has to do with hard work and determination. You really can do anything you put your mind to. As long as you set a goal, and work hard to achieve that goal. A fellow captain and I set our goal one day when we were talking on the bus ride back from a scrimmage we had won. We stated that we were going to win the state title. The other players laughed at the comment because if you knew anything about Beech High School, you would know that we had never even played in a state championship game. Saying this sounds like an impossible task. What made our goal even more outlandish is the fact that most of our key players from last year were seniors that had just graduated. These were "key players" which consisted of a dual threat running back combination, offensive and defensive lineman that greatly contributed to the team, and defensive backs and linebackers that, "never gave up any yards" This was the team, out of all teams, that "everyone" thought would end up going to win a State Championship. Nobody expected this year's team to win anything, we were even predicted to finish last in the district.

Our first season game we lost 21-0 to Smyrna. That was the worst feeling ever. It was

embarrassing. Our entire school had lost all hope in us, and our fellow students started to not take us seriously. But instead of crying about a loss that we cannot gain back, we used that loss to fuel us for the next game. We



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