It was finally the last day of the intense four week “mini-training camp”. Everyday has been the same routine: stretch, condition, drills, weight lifting, and watch film. Everybody has working very hard, and so have the coaches. Throughout the whole four weeks, all the players were put in multiple positions and ran plays from the coach’s playbook. Coach Cassie would film each practice, so everybody knew their strengths and weaknesses.
During those four weeks, Dimitri’s personal life can be described as if it was a rollercoaster. His relationship with Traci is the one thing that always keeps him smiling. Most of the time, when Dimitri is finished with practice, they spend the rest of the day together. They would do homework, have dinner, play video games, or they would just cuddle on the couch watching television. Those were the times where Dimitri was at peace. Unfortunately, he continues to have the nightmare about his biological parents approximately two to three nights a week. It has been putting stress on Dimitri with work, school, and studying the playbook on the side.
The clock finally stuck 6:45 pm, and the team were hungry for the official start of this game. As the entire team were stretching, on the left side of the field, the opposing team were also stretching on the other side. The Amarillo Rattlers have been one of the best teams in past seasons. The last time both teams played each other; the Knights lost in Amarillo: 35-24 (that was Dimitri’s freshman year). This time the Rattlers don’t know what to expect from this version of the Garland Knights.
“Alright everyone,” Coach Cassie said, “Head back to the middle of the practice field.”
The team followed the commands of their coach, and she began to speak again. “I know the last four weeks have been hell, but we all can agree that we got an enormous amount of progress done. But with that said, it doesn’t mean we can take practice or any opponent lightly. No matter what the outcome of this game is; we cannot give up or let our guard down. Let’s get out on the field and win this game.”
Has there ever been a moment where you are nervous and feeling confident at the same time? Seems impossible, right? Well that is how I am feeling right now. The game has just started and I somewhat feel like I am about to fuck something up. What exactly was I worrying about anyway? I was not even on the field yet, and my freaking girlfriend and her parents were in the stand. My aunt and uncle could not make it (they had their own children), but I know they wish me luck. Okay, that is enough talking/thinking to myself; I should probably focus on the field.
The game started with the Rattlers winning the coin toss, receiving the ball, and started their first possession at the thirty-two yard line. Four plays already into the game, and our defense stripped the ball out of the running back’s hands. Now the ball was placed at the fifty yard line.
“Dimitri!” Coach Cassie shouted. “You go out there, and become the leader you promised me. Remember don’t make stupid mistakes, take your time, smart play calling, and most importantly have fun.”
After hearing those somewhat encouraging words from Coach, I still felt the world on my shoulders. That feeling suddenly disappeared as I glanced into the crowd and saw my beautiful girlfriend mouthing to me “I love you!” Reading those words off her lips just turned everything around. I took those words to heart.
I kept the first couple of plays simple, and just handed the ball off to the running back. That got us rolling with confidence and the drive continued at the forty yard line, but I still haven’t thrown the football. That all changed when I threw a touchdown on a play-action pass.
It was finally the fourth quarter (does anyone really cares what happens in the second and third quarters) and the score was 24-13. We, the Knights, not only had the lead, but also had possession at our own thirty-one yard line. By the look of the Rattler’s defense (blitz and zone coverage), they seemed determined to get the ball back. Our main goal was to run the clock down and not turn the ball over.
The final score was 24-13 Knights victory and the crowd were screaming with excitement. We concluded the game with the typical handshake and ‘good game’ saying, then immediately rushed into the locker room. Coach Cassie told us that we would watch the game tape and practice on Monday. She then gave us a congratulations speech and told us there is always room for improvement.
Soon after removing all my football equipment and walking to my truck, I noticed Traci was sitting in the bed of my truck.
“Babe, you were awesome out there,” Traci said while giving me a hug and kiss.
“Thanks Traci,” I said with appreciation, “Why are you waiting out here by yourself? Didn’t you drive to the game?”
Traci began to chuckle and responded, “Nope, I had my parents drop me off and I told him I was going to spend the night at your house. Did I mention that they really trust you in keeping me save?”
“That is good to know, and you are always welcome at my house, babe. Do you feel okay driving, because I am very tired?”
“Hell yeah, I always wanted to drive your truck.” Traci screamed with excitement. Hope you don’t mind if we stop for some tacos. Taco Bell or Taco Cabaña?”
“Definitely Taco Cabaña!”
The night ended with both of us sleeping and cuddling in my bed.