Alex Sanchez

It’s senior year, and the first day of high school. As I prepare for soccer tryouts, all I can think about is I can prepare myself for our toughest game of the season, our home opener. It’s the last day of tryouts and for the third year in a row tryouts are the same; stretching, drills, scrimmage, and final cuts. As practice comes to an end, the head soccer coach approaches me. Within a time span of 10 seconds, I find out that the last three years I played high school soccer were my last, because I was getting cut my senior year.


No one believed me that I was cut when I told them. I had been playing soccer at the high school level for three years and a senior getting cut after playing for that long had been unheard of before. I didn’t know what I felt at that moment. It was something I had never felt before. I felt empty inside, as if a bully were to take my lunch money. Through the course of the following day and the weekend, all that I could think about was exactly what happened Thursday, it felt as if I had just experienced it a few moments ago. Sunday morning, I woke up and wished it was all a dream, but it wasn’t. At that point I was sick and tired and went for a jog. As I was jogging, an idea came to mind. I thought about it for a few seconds but just laughed. I couldn’t believe I was actually thinking about joining the football team.


I got home and took a long steamy shower to process what I had just thought of. I had never played football, I don’t understand football, but I did know it was a no cut sport. The only position I could vision myself playing was a kicker. I had never kicked a football in my life and didn’t know the proper way to kick a football. In my head two scenarios played out; I would tell my parents and they would play it off as a joke, or they would be open to the idea and back me up on the possible option of playing football. After a long but productive decision, we had decided that I would ask for the opportunity to be on the football team. I didn’t know what to expect, or if I would even be allowed to join the football team after a week and a half of preseason conditioning. The next morning I awoke earlier than usual, with butterflies in my stomach. It felt as if I were going back in time to freshman year soccer tryouts. I had decided I would talk to the head football coach during lunch, and if he wasn’t in his office then it was fate that had decided that playing football wasn’t for me. It was 10:57 in the morning and to my surprise, Coach Callaghan was in his office taking a bite of his lunch. There was no backing out at this point, all I could do was talk to him and hope for the best.


I approached him and began telling him exactly what happened. He nodded and thought about it very hard, telling me that it was two weeks into the season and he didn’t know what position he would put me in or if I could even fit in. He finally said to come out to practice that evening to see how well I would do and we would go from there. It was a very nervous but hopeful feeling I had at that point; I even had goosebumps. That evening, I showed up to practice, and was given a helmet and pads. I had trouble putting my equipment on but was helped out by the other kicker, who would soon become my mentor. Practice that evening went swell, and the day after, coach called me into his office and said I would be a positive asset to the team. He then gave me all the equipment I would need for the remainder of the season. I was now part of the rich Viking Football tradition, recent State Champions and home to the best fans in the state.


Here I am now, with the 5th game of the season out of the way, and half way in to the season. When I was jogging, I never imagined I would become the starting kicker for my football team. When I was a freshman and made a list of goals I wanted to accomplish, I never wrote ‘learn how to put on a helmet’, but here I am, putting on a helmet before practice. With a clearer and calmer point of view over the whole situation, getting cut from the soccer team has been the best thing that’s happened to me so far. I’ve learned a lot from myself these past couple of weeks. I never thought I would get over the fact that I wasn’t a part of the soccer team, but I have. I never thought that being a part of the high school football team would be something I would experience in my life, but I am. The possibility of obtaining a collegiate scholarship for football never crossed my mind, but here I am receiving information about potential colleges. This experience has taught me a lot, but what I gained the most out of it was the following; When a door closes, another one opens. Life is too precious to sit back and dwell on the past, it’s all about the future. As my football coach says; “It’s not about the play you just made, it’s about what you do the next play that matters.”