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My Final Fall Football Camp

August 31, 2019

I’m approaching the last couple of days of football camp, and I’m feeling very reflective right now.

This August was the last time I had to fly from Texas to Oberlin earlier than anybody else in order to show up for football camp. Camp basically consists of the first practices and other football activities of the season. There is a nonstop busy schedule filled with meetings and lifts on top of the practices. It’s definitely difficult, but it’s supposed to be hard. Camp is the introduction to the rest of the season.

Think of it as a weedout class in a way. Camp is that weedout class that makes you really dig deep and ask yourself if engaging with it was worth it. Then, as the rest of the year progresses, you find out that things get easier over time. You already made it through the most physically and mentally taxing part of it all, so the rest of the year isn’t nearly as bad. That’s how fall football camp feels every single year.

As a senior, it still blows my mind to think that I will never go through this process again.

I’ll never be able to fly to Oberlin with the intention to ball out with my teammates anymore. Like... this is it. There will be no more traveling back to Oberlin to train for next year’s football season. There is no “next year” for me when it comes to this game, because it’s my senior year and I don’t plan on playing professionally. The surreal feeling hasn’t fully kicked in yet. Sure, I reflect on it and everything, but I don’t have that “OMG” feeling on my mind (yet). I’m sure that this will change as the school year continues. I just feel so tired from camp that I haven’t had the time or energy to really think about it. The biggest reason for that is because I feel so exhausted from camp all the time.

Camp gets easier every year, but my body tends to feel more pain every year as well.

Some of you all may laugh when I say this, but I feel really old right now. I’m in shape and I manage to get through practice without feeling out of breath, but my body goes through it. I’m an offensive lineman, which means that I have to make contact with someone on the defense on every single play. This means that I collide with people more than any other position group on the field, which results in more bumps and bruises. Sometimes, *knocks on wood* injuries occur as well from all of those collisions. I know for a fact that my body feels more sore than it’s ever been. My knees feel like they are seventy-five years old. It gets pretty hard to walk sometimes after practice because of how much stress I put on my legs, especially since I’m an offensive lineman. The rest of my body doesn’t feel that much better either. It really seems as though my body reacts to pain worse the longer I’m playing football. With that being said, actually playing the game is a lot easier than it used to be. 

With that being said, I hope to use my experience as a senior in order to gain an upper hand on our opponents this season.

I have started and played in enough college football games to understand what it takes to win one. With all the knowledge I’ve gained from my experience over the years, I am able to read defenses more effectively. Along with this, I’m able to manipulate my body in ways that best help me win my block as a lineman. My body may be in more pain than ever, but the game of football has never felt more comfortable to me. Also, I don’t mind the pain too much. After all, it’s football. Human beings aren’t supposed to naturally collide with one another like they do in football, so I feel pretty confident in saying that I know the risks that come with it.

This is really it... My last fall football camp is coming to a close. 

Camp may be a grind, but I know that I’m going to miss it when it’s all said and done. There’s no going back from here. I won’t ever return to Oberlin with the intention to throw on a helmet and shoulder pads after this season is over. The thought keeps looming in the back of my mind. It hurts to see that my college football career is slowly coming to a close, but I’m also at peace with the fact that I put in years of effort into the game that I love. However, I’m not done just yet. The Yeomen have the potential to do something really special this season, and I’m obligated to ensure that I only add to the success of this team. I only have one shot left at playing this beautiful game, and I want to make sure that I end everything on a high and positive note.

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