When I first started playing football I thought it would be about just about winning. I play for the East Bay Warriors. We went undefeated this whole year and for that we got invited to play in a football tournament in Florida. We were going to be out there for about a week and a half. There were two teams that made it that played for East Bay Warriors: my team, the Wolf Pack, and the younger team, the Wolverines. This was a great experience for me because I hadn’t been on a plane ever in my life. (Well, one time I had, but it was when I was little and I don’t really remember so I don’t count it.) To get there we had to take a couple of planes. It was very fun because me and other friends were throwing napkins at people. Each plane ride took about 45 minutes, but the longest plane ride was five hours. After the plane ride we had to take a bus to the Disney resort. It took about 45 minutes to get there, by that time it was about 6:00 and it was starting to get dark. Out in Florida they are three hours ahead of us out here in California.
When I first got to the Disney resort we had to go in this tent and wait for the other buses to get there. I was in the first bus that got there, so my teammates and I were playing ping-pong in the tent. It took the other buses about an hour to get to the rendezvous spot in front of the resort. When the rest of the team got there we had to be put in groups. My group was my cousin Marjani, Six Footer, and Coach Troy. In Florida there are a lot of things to do, like the food court, arcade room, and a lot of pools. For me I couldn’t eat a lot like I wanted to because I’m an “Older lighter.” An older lighter is when you are over the age limit for a team, but your weight is accepted. I was disappointed because they had a lot of food I wanted to eat. The weight limit was 109, so I had to lose three pounds to be certified to play in the game. The good thing about it was we only had to weigh in one time, so once we made weight that time we were clear for all the games. I learned how to set a goal for myself (to make weight), and that changed my life.
Our third day there we had practice. We had to practice our plays and work on our football positions. For practice we also had to watch the other team’s films so we would know what we were going up against. We didn’t have a fully padded practice; we only had our jerseys and our East Bay shorts. We practiced for about two hours learning plays and working out. Everyone besides me and a couple of other players had to practice extra hard to lose a few pounds so we could be eligible to play. After all our practices the coaches give us an important speech about the game we were getting ready for.
The very next day we had our first game. I made weight that day so I was certified to play in the game. We had to play this team from Hawaii. They were bigger than all of us but not faster or smarter. Even though they were bigger than us we were not intimidated. All of my teammates were ready to win and blow them out.
We had to kick off first and our kicker is good, so he launched it about 80 yards. We rushed down the field and stopped them at the 35 yard line. We were on defense and we did not let them get the first down. We stopped them, so it was a turnover on downs. My team is dominant on offense so we ran them all around the field. They were too big and to sluggish to keep up with us. I scored and a bunch of other kids on my team scored and the game was eventually over.
After the game we went out to eat at this all-the-lobster-you-can-eat restaurant. I was so happy because I didn’t have to worry about my weight or anything. The next day we had to play this team from Seattle. This was the hardest game we ever played in our whole life. We played four whole quarters without scoring. Then we had to go into overtime and we still didn’t score. So we had to go into overtime again, and we finally scored! But then as soon as we scored, they scored, and that just dropped our spirits very low. So it was a tie game, both teams we both tired, and there were a few minutes on the clock. We held them down for a very long time but then they found a flaw in our defense and scored. The game was over and our team walked away in shame to our bus and on our way to the Disney Resort.
The rest of the stay there was so shameful because we had to think of our great loss, but we also had more time to talk to girls, get on roller coasters at Disneyworld, and buy new souvenirs to bring back to Oakland. I learned from this experience because that was my first time playing in a national championship and having a long plane ride with my good friends without having parent supervision. Playing with a championship team made me a better football player and a more independent and self-sufficient young man.
7 years ago