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Football has also been an important part of my life. My dad is a high school football coach, so we are a "football" household. I grew up on the sidelines of my dad's games and even served as a ball-boy for a couple of seasons.
I always wanted to play football because the game is fun. But then I learned the game teaches you the values of relationships and camaraderie. The relationships that I have built over the years with my teammates and my coaches are special. We work long and hard as a group toward a singular goal. As a family, we have experienced the "highs" of making it to the State Championship game, but also the "lows" of losing that game. When we win, it is because we have worked together - everyone has their job and they take pride in doing it well. When one person doesn't get the job done, we work as a team to make sure it doesn't happen again by building that person up.
The coaches allow us to ask questions and give input in meetings and during games. We are working as one unit.
I want to continue to play football as I continue my education in college. I know it is a different game at that level because my dad played in college. He has told me it is different from high school, but it is the same game and you build relationships with the people you play with.
I play football primarily because the game is fun, but really, is it because of the relationships you build with your teammates on and off the field.
Learning from my dad, and his expectations of his players, I feel that athletes are obligated to be leaders on the field and in the classroom and community. If you are an athlete, I believe that most people in the school hold you to a higher standard. Some watch you as you carry yourself, while others wait for you to trip and fall.
Athletes should be leaders in the school and the community because we are more visible than maybe the students in Band, Choir, or school clubs. Athletes should be held accountable and lead by example in the school community by showing their peers how things need to be done. Just the simple things like throwing your garbage away at lunch; respecting school staff members; showing courtesy to their peers; and stepping in where they see injustice like bullying. Athletes should not be dictatorial in any way - just being respectful and civic-minded.
These are the things I do every day in the school and in the community. I've even stopped a student from bullying another. I didn't threaten the bully; I just told him that what he was doing wasn't right. He probably got the message because of my size, but I followed it up by reporting it to a staff member.
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