Guest Blogger: Touchdown Tragedy

Dear Readers,

Today I am proud to feature my first guest blogger: Kealohi.  Kealohi is a very talented young woman whom I am honored to have as a student.  She is only in her first-year of high school and is already, I’m sure you’ll agree, a brilliant emerging writer.  I’d like to share with you a short story she wrote about a young man who faces a bitter disappointment.  Will he be able to regain his confidence?  Will he find hope?  You’ll have to read it to find out.

I know you’ll love this piece!  And so, without further ado, I present to you:

Touchdown Tragedy – an original story by Kealohi P

BOOM! BOOM! CLAP! LET’S GO BULLDOGS – LET’S GO! – the call of the fans. As the team gets pumped up for the game in the locker room, getting loud and rowdy, I sit quietly aside and try to  get focused. I can feel the grass under my cleats, I can hear the crowd roar, I can see the score board: nothing else matters but those numbers.

When we step out on the field we raise our helmets high, yelling chants to get the crowd going.  They go crazy: screaming, yelling, stomping and clapping. That, my friend, is truly a great feeling: knowing you have all those people there to cheer you on. We line up on the field for the National Anthem.  The band begins to play as the flag is raised, and our hearts swell with pride. When the band finishes someone yells, “LETS PLAY SOME FOOTBALL!” and we know it’s game time.

Football: it’s the only thing I truly know and love.  It wouldn’t be an over exaggeration to say that it is my life.  Everyone, including my coach, says “I can see it now, Jacobson #58, receiver on an NFL team.” To say football is the only thing I have is no exaggeration, but a true fact.  This is why I remember the night of October 2 so well.  That was the night I lost it all.

The clock was at a minute forty-two seconds left in the 3rd quarter, we were up by one and trying to keep it that way. There I was, standing on the 20 yard line, hoping, praying I would catch this last pass and score before the time ran out. Our quarter back, ball in hand, looked at me.  I was ready. The ball wasn’t even two feet away from my hands when I was hit. When I slammed into the ground I knew I wasn’t coming back up.  There was an almost unbearable stinging pain in my leg. The crowd was silent as I lay on the field unmoving. After that I don’t remember much, only faint memories of the ambulance ride and being rushed around the hospital.  All I could think about was that may have been the last play of my football career. My leg was broken in three places and I had to get pins in the bone.

Dr. James came over to my bedside.   I couldn’t hold my anxiety in any longer.  I had to ask: “Will I be able to play football again?”

                “Well son, we’ll have to wait a few weeks and see how it heals,” Dr. James told be with a sympathetic look, as if to say, “the chances aren’t high”, but in a nice way.

I just nodded in the fear I wouldn’t be able to talk.

The days passed, and I was released from the hospital and back in school. Everyone at school asked me how I felt and if I was ok.  I wanted to tell every single one of them, “Does it look like I’m ok?!”  People were really starting to get on my nerves. But the worst part of all was I had to sit on the sidelines during practice.  I never thought I’d miss the conditioning and up downs as much as I did. I wanted to be out there with my team: running drills, getting tired and sweaty.  But no – I was stuck on the bench; a place I have never been and a place that, well, quite frankly I hate. Home wasn’t any better.  My mom was fussing over my every move and my Dad was giving me the sympathy look all the time.  Seeing all my trophies and season pictures everywhere made me feel even worse.  It felt  the world seemed to hate me.  Even sleep offered no escape.  Every night I had the same dream: the replay of that night, the snap, the pass, the fall, the break. These images haunted me and would not let me forget.

My life had changed so majorly in those two weeks on crutches that I didn’t even know who I was anymore. Without football, I had all this free time that I didn’t know what to do with. Life was so boring.  I felt so useless!  I went to every game, every practice, but it just wasn’t the same.   I had no purpose. I was truly nothing without football.

The day my doctor let me off crutches I wanted to jump for joy, but I kept my cool because I knew it wasn’t then end.

                “Give it another few weeks,” Dr. James informed me.

                “Alright,” was all I could say.

                “Elevate and ice twice a day.”

                “Yes sir.”

It sure felt great to walk into school the following day.  Without crutches, I felt like a happier person. The whole school seemed to be uplifted with me back on my feet, or maybe I was just over excited. I felt like I was getting back to my all-star self, taking little steps at a time. Being off crutches gave me the hope that this nightmare would be over soon.

The final game of the season came and I still couldn’t play, but I put on a smile and my jersey and walked out onto the field with my coaches. The crowd was louder than ever and the team was pumped.  I was still disappointed that I couldn’t play, but I was there to support the rest of the team. Game ended, 22-16 WE WIN! The season went out with a bang.

But my healing journey wasn’t over. From the doc’s approximation I had another two weeks before we would know if I could play again. These were the longest two weeks of my life. All I could think about was, “what am I going to do with myself if I can’t play?”   As I walked into the waiting room of the doctor’s office on the morning I was supposed to get the final news, I couldn’t help but be nervous.

                “Jacobson?” the nurse called for me.

                “Do you want me to come with?” mom looked at me as if she already knew the answer.

                “Nah, I think I gotta go on my own,” I smiled.

                “OK, I’ll be here.”

                “Thanks.”

The nurse led me to the room where I sat on the table and waited. As I sat there I studied the floral wallpaper and the tree outside the window, trying to keep my mind off football.  It seemed like ages later when Dr. James came in with a blank, unreadable expression on his face. I started to panic.

                “Well, we both know what you are here for, so let’s just get to it, shall we?”

                “Yes sir, please!” I couldn’t help but rush the situation.

He looked down at his clipboard, then back up to me.

 “Well son,” he smiled, “looks like you’ll be packing for football camp next summer.”

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