The game was fun even though we lost.. Unfortunately I learned why teams have coaches.. and someone to keep everyone in line… had a few guys who didn’t want to do the rotation or messed up the rotation by doing whatever they want… i still got in on some plays.. played kick off and CB for a few series and ended the game at DT (I’m 6’2″ 200 pounds :) but I got to line up next to my long time friend basically my brother of who I’ve know for 30 yrs of my 32 yr old life… and its something I won’t every forget… it was cool to go hit for the first time in almost 2 decades.. and i shook off some of the fear I had as the last time I ever played contact football I tore my hamstring and was laid up 6 months… made it through the game uninjured and am heading on vacation tomorrow for a week so I have no complaints!
Have you ever had the chance to get to do something you wanted to do but never got the chance to for whatever the reason? I’m 32 years old now, i have a wife, 2 kids, a house and a dog, a good job and a college degree. Sounds like I’m bragging but I’m in no way am. I accomplished all this between the ages of 26 and 31 and I spent a lot of time between 18 and 26 wasting time and making mistakes that inevitably landed me where I am today So i can’t really complain. But during that time i know I’ve said at least 100 times “boy i wish i could have done that” or “that’s something I’d really like to do one day” And 1 day turns into 1 year turns to 2 years turns to 5 years turns to 10 years and in my case turns to 16 years and I’ve never got to do what i always wished i would have done. And for my thing it was pretty much impossible to do it unless i became an actor who played a high school football player!
To make my point i need to provide a little history. Everyone had issues in high school mine were no different. I was a good student up until my freshman year when my parents went through a nasty divorce pitting me against one another turning my pretty normal life upside down. For someone who’s never had to change much except for schools where I still knew 25% of the kids there were no real shockers in my life. The divorce and the living situation etc all happened when i was at my most adolescent awkwardness. I just grew like 9 inches i was 6’2″ 130 pound bean poll with a perm to look like an old school Justin Timberlake! I had 0 self esteem or confidence except when i played sports like basketball and football. When i turned 16 i got a job with a friend at a local bar and grill… Another decision that negatively influenced me as I now had access to alcohol! Which led to partying and away from sports and education. By the time i wised up it was my senior year. I finally was use to the living situation, the parents squabbling, and grew into my body. I finally had confidence in myself but by then It was too late. I missed the football tryouts my senior year and when i tried out for the Basketball team in the fall, even though i was better than some of the kids they kept i was told just because I’m a senior doesn’t mean I’m going to make the team. Typical small town politics and favoritism. They liked kids who were with the program, didn’t care why i couldn’t play and didn’t care i could play. I was 17 years old and that was the last time i ever played a competitive game of anything… I spent the next 8 years trying to figure my life out before finally seeing a path and running with it full steam.
Ok so you’re sitting there and you’re reading this and you’re like ok dude get to the point already… Well thanks to Alumnifootballusa.com and some awesome teammates tonight i will be officially a THS Warrior! I get one night to be 17 years old again. I get to experience playing at my school, in front of the home crowd and in front of everyone in my life that truly matters and that will be there the rest of my life now, mainly my wife, my 3 year old son (my 1 year old won’t remember) my mom and my friends. I get to play along side My best friend more of a brother who’s been my brother for 30 years. Whose brothers taught me how to play football and who use to play against us even though we were younger and smaller.. I get that second chance that many of us don’t get. Now true, its not the same I’m not 17, this isn’t high school. but the atmosphere is still the same. There’s still the team feel, the brotherhood, and the competitiveness..Still against our long time rivals NT and there’s the Competitiveness… A word i haven’t uttered in 16 years.. A feeling i haven’t really felt in 16 years especially now since society seems to shun competitive people… I was up until 4am yesterday all i could do was picture running on the field, lining up for the first kickoff and making contact with someone, as hard and as fast as i can and hope i win the contest… When your a kid you get the advantage of playing with nothing to lose. If you get hurt its no biggie, you don’t have responsibilities and you have all the time in the world to heal. Blocking out that fear is going to be tough because i have kids and a family that depends on me. I need to be 100% for my kids the next morning when they wake up excited yelling DADDY DADDY! Lets PLAY at 7:30am… I’ve had a knot in my stomach all day a mix of anxiety and excitement… I haven’t been tackled in 16 years.. I haven’t tackled in 16 years.. what is that first hit going to feel like? Whats that first blind side block going to feel like? And how much abuse can a 32 year old Rookie take? What is that feeling going to be like when I make my first tackle or miss it? When i make my first catch or I drop it? When i score my first touchdown or don’t even get close? Will i possible have a heroic moment that they write movies about? Or will I be the reason the other team wins? All I know for sure is when ever and wherever my team needs to play I’m going to play. And I’m going to play as hard as I can for as long as I can and hope I can make a difference. I hope some of that old football spunk i use to have is still there and like muscle memory It comes back. And regardless what happens I’m going to have fun with my friends and have a life memory to cherish with my family forever.
I’ll report back tomorrow! (As long as I’m able!) to describe what might be one of the coolest nights in my life!
Thanks for Reading!
It has been a rough 2014 so far for us Bills Fans… Jim Kelly’s cancer returning and his courageous fight, Ralph Wilson Passing away placing the Franchises future in turmoil, our amazing Defensive coordinator who helped set a franchise sack record gone after just 1 year… And now, as most of you already know, Kiko Alonso Tore an ACL during offseason workouts and is pretty much done for the year. Go head, take a deep breath, and scream REALLY LOUD, WHY CAN’T THE BILLS CATCH A BREAK! It’s easy to unlock the brief case, go to defcon 5, and hit the button sending a plethora of armed nuclear missiles straight for our hopes for the 2014 Season… After all, it’s always something with these Darn Bills. 1999 to 2014 hasn’t been kind to our team. It’s been 15 years since our last playoff Appearance and the whole Doug Flutie Rob Johnson debacle… Do we “Dance with the Girl who Brung ya” or Start the bumbling one start wonder… If only there was a time machine. It’s been 10 years since our last winning season in which we couldn’t beat the Steelers 3rd stringers…Wait… See what happened there? Like I said, it’s easy to start looking for the emergency exits from the Bills Covered Stage Coach Wagon when news like this breaks… But Even though we lost a young Linebacker, who was thought of as a possible Rookie of the Year last year and that all of us were dying to see what he could do in his second year, I personally don’t think the Bills are in bad shape… Ok… Stop with the Dirty looks and “Oh COME ON man! Are you serious! The seasons OVER comments! Let me explain…
First, let’s start with the biggest reason… The Bills have Depth! Yes, that’s right, I said it. For the first time in a LONG time the bills have depth and we saw that last year with all the injuries and guess what? We’ve actually added to that depth this offseason. Something else to consider is that the bills are moving from a 3-4 hybrid blitzing defense in which Kiko played in the middle and QB’d the defense to a more ordinary 4-3 defense in which Kiko was moving from inside to outside LB and passing the Mike responsibilities to Spikes. The change in position could have caused a regression not to mention when teams go 3 or 4 wide that moves the bills to a Nickel or Dime package which may not have included Alonso. The Bills also got a lot stronger in the LB position with the signing of Brandon Spikes and Keith Rivers. Factor in Manny Lawson, Nigel Bradham (Now in his 3rd year), and Rookie Preston Brown (who’s 6’2 260) the bills have come a long way since the days of Coy Wire, Bryan Scott and Chris White playing as LB’s. I personally think Rivers and Brown will take over and I’m very interested to see Brown. He might be this year’s version of Kiko Alonso and surprise people. Lastly remember Jerry Hughes? He can play outside LB; I don’t see the Bills strictly using him as the opposite DE to Mario Williams the entire season.
I know I’m going to take some heat for this statement but remember the second half of last season? Do you remember any Kiko highlights past week 6?? He kind of disappeared when the rest of the defense was healthy and returned. He ended up with a lot of tackles (159 I believe). But most of them were assists. I think Bills fans have a way of only remembering the good, and the first 6 weeks when things looked bleek with the injuries and we were starting Justin Rogers at CB, Kiko was a surprising star! I mean look what people did to get his Jersey! Hey oh! Ahem.. Anyways..
Lastly, I believe the Offense comes around this year which will take some pressure off the defense. We bulked up on the offensive line. We’ve added an amazing Rookie talent at WR. Tony Moeaki is an Intriguing prospect at TE if he can stay healthy and we have a tough back field. Look at the Pickups of Bryce Brown and Anthony Dixon and we still have the Infredible Fred Jackson and Electrifying CJ Spiller! What’s not to love there? I think Hackett will take some lessons from how Chan Gailey used Spiller and our Running game will explode! That should help Manuel tremendously this year and take the pressure off of him allowing him to progress throughout the year as long as he can stay healthy.
See, Things don’t seem so bad now right? I mean I didn’t even touch on Sammy Watkins, Mike Williams, Aaron Williams at Safety, a healthy Gilmore in his 3rd yr with Chris Williams playing across from him… The more I’m typing, the more excited I’m getting for the 2014 season. Sure I’m disappointed not being able to see Kiko out there and watch his progression. So LET’s GO BUFFALO’s original 12th man!! Stay on the Wagon, Pile on the wagon! Steal other wagons in order to join the thundering heard of wagons. Tie yourself to the side if there’s no room on the wagons because come Sundays “where would you rather be than right here right now!”