How Football Changed my Life

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How Football Changed my Life

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Luca Pasinato, Staff Writer

Football has always played a huge part of my life. I started when I was in second grade with full-contact, tackle football at NVA. I didn’t know it yet, but the game would soon help change me in a way that I would never see coming.

As a senior, I know that I will never again be able to throw on shoulder pads, strap on my helmet, and run full speed into an opponent. But football isn’t all about how hard you hit or what your max numbers are in the weight room; it’s about shaping you into a better man.

While winning is important and has motivated just about every athlete to work harder, it’s only one way to judge success in sports. Losing, although it never feels great, tests one’s character so one can tackle (no pun intended) problems head on and get back up when knocked down. On and off the football field, character counts.

Having your character put to the test makes you stronger. Every day at practice, I would hear one of my coaches yelling from across the field. Whether he was asking me what on Earth I was doing, or telling me to quit whining and get to work, I knew when I heard yelling, I had messed up. Having a thick skin in this world isn’t a bad thing at all, and it was through this tough love that I learned how to work harder than I ever knew possible.

Parents today cite concussions and other side effects of playing football as their main concerns with the game, but what teenagers gain from football and the traits that will follow them for the rest of their lives may outweigh the risks. They did for me.

Football is a game that comes with injuries, and that’s a risk I was willing to take.”

This isn’t to say I’m dismissing serious head injuries by any means. This season, I suspect I had two undiagnosed concussions. But football is a game that comes with injuries, and that’s a risk I was willing to take.

It kills me inside to hear of people quitting football  because they will never know the feeling of running out of the tunnel to a stadium packed with friends, family and fans cheering you on.

Breaking through that tarp, lined with pommers and cheerleaders on either side, and looking up to see all your fellow classmates in the student section cheering you on is a feeling second to none, and sacrificing that lifelong memory due to fear of possible harm is something I doubt I’ll ever fully understand.

Football has changed my life since the moment I picked it up 10 years ago, and I simply hope others are given the same opportunity I was.