Have you ever felt the chills that come from realizing what you’re listening to? Or seeing something so inspirational and influential that it makes you feel and act a certain way from then on? If so, then you have experienced something that you should always remember when you ponder on how your passion of something became alive; and the story behind it. While I was growing up there were few things I was truly passionate about. Although nothing was of huge interest to me; there was always one thing that had my heart. That was the game of football.
Whether it was playing a pickup game in the park or playing in a playoff game, I was laying it all out on the line. Soon my high school years came around, and I found myself getting playing time on the varsity team as a freshman. I took advantage of it and did the best I could. It was an amazing experience. When sophomore year came around I came into the year with a big head and a bad attitude. I wasn’t putting in the work that I should’ve and it definitely showed out on the field. It took me the whole year to realize what I had just wasted, and the realization all started because of a movie.
My eyes became open to what was in front of me. Watching the movie Friday Night Lights for the first time made me change my view on the valuable life lessons and memories that come along with playing high school football. Friday Night Lights is a movie that came out in October of 2004. It is a movie based on the city of Odessa, Texas and its high school football team the Permian Panthers. It is a small city where nothing matters but football on Friday nights underneath the lights. In the movie a core group of seniors is ready to embark on a season that they will remember and hold onto for the rest of their lives.
In the first game they win with ease, but also run into the career ending injury of their star player Booby Miles. After the injury the team, school, and city all believe their season is slowly going down the drain. After a few losses the team starts to pick back up and makes their way into the playoffs. During the playoffs they win game by game; they then find themselves in the state championship against a team that everyone thinks they have no chance against. They have courage and pride and they show it during this game.
They go into halftime at the state championship getting beat up and down 26-7. They storm their way back and have a chance to win the game with 2 minutes to go. In the very last play they are stopped inches of the goal line. Their season and their lives are over to them. Never again will they be a part of something so satisfying. This movie displays the life of a high school student athlete making the memories that he will take to the grave with him. This movie also shows how much a sport can change a person’s life, or how much of an effect it has on a person, family, school, city and lifestyle.
After a loss like that it will haunt them for the rest of their lives. When I finished watching the movie Friday Night Lights for the first time I had many mixed emotions. At first I shed a tear or two. Because I pictured myself losing in the state championship by a score just like the kids in the movie did. I pictured myself in a situation like theirs; where they earned it. They overcame adversity throughout their entire season, they looked past the pressure that was put on them by their town, and they were only playing for one thing and that was each other. Their brothers.
After the tears drizzled down my face I started thinking more of the movie. I soon became excited or “pumped up” you could say. Why? Because I was excited for the next two years I had, and to look forward to making the most of them with my brothers and my coaches. After seeing the movie I thought to myself “do you want to waste these next two years, or do you want to seize them and be able to look back and be proud of what you’ve accomplished”. At the time all these thoughts were going through my head, but it was up to me to walk the walk and to turn these thoughts into reality.
This movie was a life changing experience because it opened my eyes as to what I was taking for granted in life; and that was high school football. You may be thinking to yourself while reading this “this is just another football story” but to me it’s much more than that. To me it is my life story. This amazing sport matured me in so many ways. It created friendships and relationships with amazing players and coaches that will never be matched. This movie made me want to become a better football player at the time. With wanting to become a better player I had to put in the work for it.
When my junior year came around I was in the weight room any chance I had and was also doing as many extra workouts as I could. I put in the extra hours every day and I started slowly seeing results. At the end of the season I earned All-League and All-State honors. I was a complete different player. Seeing that movie and being influenced made me gain a work ethic that I will have for the rest of my life. I now truly believe in the saying “hard work will pay off”. I say that I truly believe it now because I saw it come to life with my own two eyes. I saw something that I wanted so badly start happening.
There is nothing better than visioning something you want badly and then see it become reality. That is what drives me today. With my senior year in the books I can confidently say that I have no regrets towards my last two years of high school football. My junior year I gained a work ethic that I will never lose. I had goals and I met them. When senior year came I had goals that I surpassed. I was one of the top running backs/ defensive backs in the state at the 3A level. Those last two years I made the memories and plays that will last me a lifetime.
Along with the friendships that turned into brotherhood, and the coaches that became father figures. My old football coach is now my boss and I see myself working for him for a very long time. This sport has brought me so many great things in life. I can say that I do not know how these last couple of years would have went if I did not see the movie Friday Night Lights. I would not have realized what a special time in my life was passing me by. When I start to look back on how much I used to say that I loved football I start to laugh.
Mainly because I knew I was not taking the game as serious as I should have, and that is one of my biggest regrets till this day. Nothing was the same with me when it came to football after I had watched this movie. My love for the game will never end and it will always be a part of me. I always had dreams of playing college football. In fact I had universities wanting me to play for them this year. Unfortunately I just got done with a shoulder surgery a month ago and am still recovering and am going through therapy to restructure and bring back it back to life.
Once the schools I was talking to found out about my injury every single school cut off full communication with me. It brought me to tears knowing I couldn’t fulfill my dreams because of an injury that I had been playing on for two years because I did not want to miss a single play under the lights on a Friday night. It is sad that held me back from my dreams, but I do not regret not getting surgery earlier. I wouldn’t have the memories and stories I do today. I had been playing multiple sports with this injury since the midway point of my junior year. Nothing but torn tissue surrounded the ball in my shoulder.
I played through the pain which came multiple times each game, with my shoulder dislocating and me having to pop it back into place on my own. Dealing with what life throws at you is one of the biggest things I have learned from the sport of football. It is not the situations that you’re dealt in life; it is how you react and deal with these situations is what makes you the person you are. Football has taught me that, and I often always refer back to these teachings when I am down and out. As life goes on I see myself missing football more than anything.
Lying in a bed while in a sling and watching college football was one of the hardest things I had ever done. Mainly because I planned on having a jersey on at this time this year. I am promising myself that football will always be a part of me. I have aspirations of becoming a coach someday. Whether it is at the high school level or something different; I want to teach kids the valuable life lessons that I learned through the game. If I had never seen the movie Friday Night Lights I would never have came to the realization of what was in front of me. I would not be the person that I am today.