Personal Narrative

Zack Carifio, Guest Contributer

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It almost feels like it was yesterday. Tightening the laces of my shoulder pads, buckling the straps of my helmet and putting in my mouth guard to go hit an opposing team for the first time ever. It is something I will never forget and I can still remember it so vividly. The warmth of the summer air. The smell of the rain on the turf. I remember my heart pounding so hard I thought it might come out my chest. Sitting in the locker room with my team. It was so quiet I could almost hear my heart beating. It was opening day, the start of the season on a brand new Harry Della Russo Stadium. That just made the pressure even greater. Anxiousness ran through my whole body just waiting to get on that field in front of a live crowd that was so loud I’m sure all of Revere heard it. So loud it vibrated throughout my bones. We began to run on the field but it didn’t feel like I was moving. It was more like my body took over and was in autopilot. But i was fully aware of everything. It kind of felt like a dream but I knew it was a reality. It was like having a rush of pure adrenaline go through your body. Actually it was a rush of pure adrenaline through my body and honestly I was extremely nervous. My body felt like at any minute it could explode.

My team and the opposing team lined up on opposite sides of the field. Revere vs Medford. It was intense. Only thing separating us was turf.You could tell we were sizing each other up and getting ready for battle. Separating the big from the small. The frightening from the frightened. You could feel the tension in the air like anything could happen at any second and I’m sure the crowd felt it too. We were all just waiting for that opening kick off so we could go head to head. It was only a matter of time. We all knew we were going to war as soon as that ball was kicked. It’s an incredible feeling you get right before you’re about to collide with another team. All of your senses are sharpened, and you feel like your body is a weapon and you’re just waiting to use it against the other team.

The ball was kicked and that’s when I knew it was time. Time to show up and make a play. All the blood, sweat and tears finally worth it and now you’re putting your skills and your body to the test. As the ball was in the air I scanned the field looking for my first victim. Then I spotted him. Number 26. I will never forget that number. So I sprinted toward him with every intention to take him out. It wasn’t till about 10 yards apart from each other that he noticed me. I could see the look in his eye. The same one as mine. The look where you have no fear and you’re going to do everything you can to run through someone. Once I got within 4 yards away from him I dropped a shoulder and so did he. At the time I was about 5’6 150 pounds. Number 26 looked to be about 6’1 220 pounds. At that moment I did not care how much bigger he was then me. I put every bit of my body into that hit full speed and so did 26 and the impact of that hit has not been matched to this day. As soon as we collided we both went flying off each other. It felt like two trucks going 90 at each other and just bouncing off. I was on the ground for a split second just wondering how I was just able to deliver such a hit. I jumped right back up though, pretending like it didn’t affect me. But in reality that hit was a wake up call. It made me fall in love with the sport. Out of respect for the hit 26 looked at me and smiled, tapped me in the back of the helmet and said, “I did not expect that”. I could tell he was older than me. A junior, maybe even a senior. You could hear how surprised he was by the tone in his voice.

People can surprise you. You can surprise yourself. It all starts with taking a chance. Giving it a shot. I was on edge about playing football at first. It was my first year ever playing and most of the other kids have already played years of pop warner. I was a newcomer and I was nervous. It took a lot to give it a chance because I didn’t believe I would be able to do it. But that hit changed everything for me. Something clicked inside me and I surprised myself with the abilities I had and the fact that I could show them on the field made me feel like I could fit in and it opened a whole world of opportunities for me. I was in love with it and every day I grew hungrier and wanted to get better and better. When I’m on the field I’m not thinking about anything but what’s in front of me and that’s freeing. Not having to worry about grades or homework that’s due the next day. It’s just me on the turf strapped in shoulder pads and a helmet, hitting and getting hit, enjoying the best sport in the world. I come home every day from practice black and blue, maybe a little dry blood on me with a smile on my face. That’s just where I fit in. The only reason I found my place is because I took a chance. That just proves that in life sometimes it’s best to take chances to really find out who you are and what you enjoy the most. Something you can do 24/7 and not get sick of. The only way to find something like that is to take some risks. I was never that kid who took risks before. But that decision I made to play football was one of the best decisions I have ever made in my entire life. All I had to do was take a chance.

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Personal Narrative