Music blasting, long ride, butterflies, I’ve
arrived. Today is the day we will become the first team in Lenape Valley
history to win an Eastern Regional championship for the Division 2 team.
“In the first two minutes of play the Irondequoit Screaming Eagles are
up 7-0,” the announcer states. The butterflies are out of my system and
I am ready to go in. “Let’s go! Let’s go!” The players’ encouraging
words fill the sideline.
“Timeout, ref. Timeout, ref.” Pick up the tempo right now; don’t let
this one game slip away. You’ve earned this game, so let’s show it! No
Division 2 team has ever won an Eastern Regional Championship,” my coach
The kick is off and eleven of our fastest players sprint to the ball
like a stampede. The kick is too hard to handle, and the returner drops
the ball. Boom a tribe of Indians smash the returner as he tries to
repossess the ball. Next series is a four and out because of a rock
solid defense. Indians’ ball on their own forty yard line. The ball
moves slowly but steadily and Lenape Valley is tied 7-7. The kick is off
but OH! The returner drops it and the swarm of Indians snatches the ball
out of the struggling player’s hands.
The Indians get the ball on the 1. Two plays later—touchdown. The
Indians are up 14-7. The siren rings as halftime approaches with a score
of Eagles 7, Indians 22, after a late touchdown in the second. Halftime
is cold because our bodies aren’t in movement. I feel like a soldier
sitting on a cold day not knowing what will happen, but knowing someone
will come out victorious and the other won’t. The camaraderie will end
today and there will be one known victor.
Screaming Eagles’ ball and they run out to the corner where I’m lurking.
I won’t let him get passed. I’ll let him pay for running to my side. I
hit the running back like a freight train and the ball goes sailing out.
Indians’ ball with the score of 30-7. The ball is pounded at the
Screaming Eagles who have lost it mentally and physically. 38-7 is the
score with 20 seconds left. Everything is in slow mo as the clock ticks.
20… 19…18…This will be my last game as an Indian. 17…16…15…I will always
be a member of this team. 14…13…12…We will be looked up to by a myriad
of little kids. 11…10…9…This is one of the best days in my life.
8…7…6…We will be remembered forever. 5… 4… 3… 2… 1…Dog pile.
The Indians have done the impossible!! They won the championship! The
trophy cart is rolling out and my heart is pounding out of my chest. The
Eagles have been shot down, like a bird sniped by a hunter; they have
lost all their hope, glory, and swagger. The Indians line up for their
pictures and then snap…the memory is kept forever.