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Untitled – October 9, 2005

October 9, 2005

When I was in elementary school, I played two-hand touch football everyday during recess. It was usually two on two. One quarterback and one receiver against one pass rusher and one safety. The pass rusher usually had to count to three Mississippi before having a chance at the quarterback. My team consisted of Jason McShane and me. Jason was a big Dolphins fan, a Mormon and on the last day of school in the fourth grade, he would become my archenemy. We designed plays and had code names for them. It was great. I remember one day in the fifth grade, the greatest game of two-hand touch football took place. It was a game between the fifth and the sixth graders. We had a chip on our shoulders and they had to prove their dominance. I do not remember who won the game, but I remember thinking at the time that my life would be defined before and after that game.

The reason I reminisce about my days playing two-hand touch football in elementary school is that I do not remember ever being in pain after the hundreds of games I must have played. Right now, I am on the Evans School flag football team. Today, we had our first game and today I was the pass rusher. And unlike the rules at Jefferson Elementary, we do not count to three Mississippi before running at the quarterback. It may sound easy to run by the one blocker (who cannot use their hands to stop you), and sack the quarterback for a loss. But you try running at someone full speed and have them run away from you at full speed – it’s hard.

It was second down and ten yards to go, when I finally broke free and had a clear shot at the quarterback. I was running full speed at him and he had nowhere to run. In my head, I visualized ripping his flag off and sacking him for a lost. Everything was in place. When out of nowhere my own player dives onto the ground right in front of me. While I am reaching for his flag, my legs are cut from under me and I go flying forward. Because my arm is extended, I cannot brace for the fall. I land hard on the right side of my face. It felt like I slid on my face for 10 yards. I lay on the ground in pain for a couple of seconds when I realize that I need a substitution. And I go running off the field. After sitting a couple plays, I would go back into the game. After a hard fight, we ended up tying the game. So we start the season 0-0-1. At least we are still undefeated. Tonight, I pretty much hurt everywhere. My eye is swollen and red and I think I have a good chance of having a black eye tomorrow. I truly do not remember this kind of pain in elementary school. I guess pain is what we accept for growing up.

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