The nerves are raging, mainly in his stomach as the butterflies flutter till no end. “Is everything ok? Will everything go as planned?” He couldn’t stop thinking about what might happen. Images were racing wild as he thought about his teammates going to battle without him. He couldn’t comprehend why he had to let them handle it on their own. He has played with them since they were in eighth grade, and when they need him the most, all he can do is sit and cheer. He hates this feeling of helplessness, but at the same time he knows he has to do what little he can do, well.
It was two days until the first game of my last high school football season. My team and I were going to play Bayfield, a battle we had persistently prepared for since the last game of our junior year. The sun was beating on my pads, radiating the heat to make practice seem even worse. I was exhausted and looking forward to the end of my last sweat poring practice for the week. Our team was repetitively executing plays to make sure they were like second nature to us on Friday.
Then, creating an unknown peace, Coach Nelson yells, “Last Play!”
The play was “Red 334″which is a run to our halfback, me, out of our dive series. I crouched over the ball as I jetted past the quarterback and ran the play so we could observe the changes we needed to make. I let out a sigh of relief because we were finished with the most dreaded part of practice; well, only until someone complained about not knowing their job on one of our pass plays. Coach Nelson undoubtedly decided we needed to run through the final pass play before we perfected our defense. The play was quietly called in the huddle with intentions of getting it right. I ran the play through my mind while I tried to remember what the snap count was and what I was supposed to do for that play. The ball was snapped and I jolted to the left of our team’s quarterback to set up his backside protection. Out of my peripheral vision, I noticed the defensive end raging toward the quarterback. I intensely stepped into him while lowering my body and exploded through his shoulder pads sending him stumbling into the line’s pass protection. My shoulder was thrashed in reverse, leaving the rest of my body driving forward persisting with my block. I jerked back as if the inertia would spring my arm back into place. Gravity took over my knees leaving them no choice but to hit the ground. My arm was left dangling with no initial support; my only support now was my hand holding it closely to my side as if I could protect it from further harm.
Adrenaline took over my body like a natural anesthetic, momentarily taking my mind off of the pain. I didn’t even bother getting up as the other players frantically scattered to the huddle. All that ran through my mind was, “My season is over, my senior year is ruined, and I won’t be able to accomplish the goals I set for my last football season ever.”
I staggered to my feet with my arm limp by my side and walked to the sideline like a confused drunk looking for some spare change. I had to get off the field; I had to calm myself down and gain control of my thoughts.
Coach Duncan and Coach Smith rushed to me frantically questioning, “What happened, are you ok?”
I tried to gain enough composure to release a few words saying, “I hurt my shoulder.”
At this point, I got nauseous and light headed, so I had to walk around taking deep breaths to resist whatever it was in my stomach from exiting out my mouth. The pain was starting to stir, making me very anxious to fix whatever was wrong with my shoulder.
Coach Smith told me, “You have to calm down! You are going to go into shock!”
I needed relax if I was going to get rid of this tearing sensation in my shoulder. I filled my lungs with as much air as possible, wrapped my right arm around Coach Smith’s arm, and screamed in agony as Coach Duncan tried to put my arm back in the socket. He tried numerous times, each time making the pain intensify.
My brother, who is also a coach, decided we needed to go to the doctor to have it reset. While my brother was on the phone with my parents and next the doctor, the rest of my team was still slaving through the defensive plays; working until perfection.
My brother got off the phone and mumbled,” You have got to be kidding me!” as he angrily pushed the end button on his cell phone. “The doctor on call won’t even look at him. He told me we would have to figure something else out. We are going to have to take him to the emergency room.”
The terrifying words, “Emergency Room” made me think, “My season is over, my senior year is ruined.”
“Let’s try again!” I roared. I have always had a phobia of emergency rooms; nothing good ever comes from them. The coaches decided to jerk my arm around one more time. Like a habit, I squeezed Coach Smith’s arm between my bicep and forearm like I was trying to pinch it off.
Coach Duncan grabbed my arm and reassuringly told me, “Relax; you have to relax.” I took one more deep breath relaxed as much as possible. Jerk! Jerk! Jerk! Snap! It finally went in, but the pain was still crazy as ever. I thought resetting it was supposed to make the pain go away.
Coach Duncan informed me, “We still have to go to the emergency room to make sure everything is set correctly.” I sighed with disbelief and asked for some pain killers.
“We can’t give you any pain killers according to CHSAA,” replied Coach Nelson. This day was not going my way.
My brother and Coach Smith helped me jump into my brother’s truck. We dashed off towards the emergency room, driving as fast as the gutless truck could go. While pulling out of the high school, we saw my dad on his way to watch practice. My brother calmly waved him over and explained to him what happened. My dad then decided to ride with us to Delta. On the trip down, the truck was throwing me around like a little rag doll, and the pain was growing.
I thought to myself, “I have never seen so much traffic on this road in my life,” as we patiently waited for the next gap between vehicles to pass.
I felt like I had been in the truck for an hour when finally I looked up and saw the bright red and Duncan sign saying, “Emergency Entrance”. When we entered, the nurse politely took me to an empty bed while my dad gave the secretary the proper information. I started to get very uncomfortable due to the long drawn out beeps from the heart monitor belonging to the old lady on the other side of the curtain. I thought she was going to die. The nurse returned with a needle long enough to go through my leg.
“Whoa! What do you need that thing for?” I asked.
The nurse replied, “We have to give you an IV so we can give you the proper pain killers needed to work on your shoulder.”
I hate needles with a passion, and this one looked like it could kill me. She took the needle and slowly stabbed it into my arm, making the needle disappear little by little.
“Whew, not that bad,” I thought. Using my new IV, they gave me some morphine in hope of relieving some of the pain, but their hopes were not fulfilled. In fact, it just made me feel like pain was fun. After this my mom showed up to confront me, while we waited for a doctor to see us.
The nurse came and got me again; this time to go get x-rays. The x-rays were supposed to show whether my shoulder was set correctly or not. I slowly got out of my bed and at a snail’s pace followed the nurse to the x-ray room. She had me hold my shoulder in extremely uncomfortable positions for the x-rays, making the time seem like an eternity. After the picture taking was complete, I crept back to the disaster room. Now all we could do is wait. Unfortunately, they didn’t inform us that there was only one doctor in the emergency room that night, and the wait would be 45 minutes long. The pain was becoming aggravating and I wasn’t keeping a very positive attitude about it. My brother, knowing I was getting impatient, went out into the hall to find out what was taking so long.
When he came back in he said, “This should help.” Jen and her friend Lisa Trist had heard that I was in the emergency room and came to see me. I was excited to see their comforting smiles. Shortly after Jen and Lisa left, the doctor came waltzing in while scribbling some notes on his clipboard. He professionally put my x-rays on the light board and confirmed that my shoulder was set correctly.
“Whew! No more cranking on the shoulder.” I was released from the hospital at this point, and if it’s up to me, I will never go back.
The next week I had to get an MRI, to find out if I did any damage to my shoulder. Upon reading the results I found out that I tore the ligaments in my shoulder and that it would take four lengthy weeks to heal. I was crushed.
All that ran through my mind was, “My season is over, my senior year is ruined.”
Being rushed with disappointment made him attentive to many of the acute details associated with a loss. All he could concentrate on was the sounds and feelings that were tearing at his heart. The sounds of sniffling and seats being pounded by fists echoed in his head. The floor was bombarded with helmets and pads that were thrown with flaring emotions. He couldn’t believe it; nor understand why he had to helplessly stand on the sidelines watching his team suffer their first loss of the degenerating season. He sat out during his last game ever against his high school rivals, Paonia. If only he would have been able to help, maybe he wouldn’t feel so bad, but he did nothing at all. It could have possibly been avoided, if it wouldn’t have been for the excruciating play that caused all of this trauma.