A High School Sports Memory

A lot of people that I talk to about high school memories have the same thing to say: I do not have any good memories of high school. I, on the other hand, have a lot of good memories. Some of them are even among my favorite memories. Of course, not all memories start off as good situations, but by the end, they become cherished memories. One example of such a pattern has to do with playing sports. No, this is not a retelling of the time that I got stuffed into a trash can and placed under the shower and left to fight my way out of the garbage can. Instead, this walk down memory lane has to do with practices.

When I played American football, the practice session started before school started. Therefore, if you wanted to play on the high school football team, you had to cut your summer vacation short. From the first day that we had to show up to practice, and until the school year officially started, we had to do what were called two-a-days. Two-a-days were simply two practice sessions a day. In the first week both practices were spent getting us into shape. There was a lot of running, weight training, footwork drills, more running and calisthenics. Although these practices were held in August and it was the peak of summer, I did not mind them all that much. That is except for the running. I am not a big fan of running. I mean, if I wanted to just do running, I would join the soccer team. The worst of the running sessions was what our coach used to call “Fun Runs”.

I will say this: they were anything but fun. We would have to run around the perimeter of the football field, which doubled as the track and field area, the practice football field, which was regulation size, but without a track and around two game sized baseball fields. On top of that, we had to do two laps. To make matters worse, the “Fun Run” was always at the end of the second practice. Thankfully we did not have to do it every day. I am not sure of the exact distance, but it was far. Years later, when I was in the navy, I had to run about 2.5 kilometers in under 13 minutes, and that felt easier than the dreaded “Fun Run”.

After about two weeks, we then had to practice in full gear. That meant a helmet, which is roughly five pounds (2.25kg), shoulder pads (another five pounds), as well as the lower body padding, which is not all that heavy but definitely restricts your movement. Being able to practice in full pads had both pros and cons. One of the positives was that you were able to finally hit, that is what we call engaging in contact. One of the negatives was that it is the worst part of summer, and when it was time to do the “Fun Run”, we had to do it in full padding. However, even this has a little bright side, as you were able to slim up before school started so you could look your best on the first day back to school.



cherished (adjective) – somebody/something that you love very much and want to protect
cut short (phrasal verb) – to interrupt something; to end something earlier than originally expected
calisthenics (noun) – physical exercises intended to develop a strong and attractive body
anything but (phrase) – not at all (used for emphasis)
perimeter (noun) – the outside edge of an area of land
dreaded (adjective) – causing apprehension or fear