The Football Experience (Dede Yusuf Romdhoni)

In the beginning, there was football. The official said, Let the stadium lights come on, and they came on. The football players came onto the field, and they saw the light was good. Other teams started to show up and practice on the battle ground, otherwise known as the “playing field.” Fans shouted, and cheerleaders went on about their playful acts. Parents, brothers, sisters, and close friends all piled into the stands to see the game of the year. The official stepped out onto the moist grass at Siliwangi Stadium, in Bandung. The time was seven o’clock p.m. on a Thursday night. He paused for a moment, looked at his stopwatch, and blew his whistle. Gigantic muscular men came from out of nowhere as the fans began to cheer, waving various flags, and clanging cow bells. The bells sounded like a wind chime in an April shower, all different sounds at different times.

The players ran out to the middle of the stadium. A smell of hatred and resentment came about in the air. The crowd came unglued from their seats. The sounds of various noisemakers filled the air once again. Parents and grandparents alike came to their feet in the stands. Cars stopped on the street in front of the stadium, as they honked their horns, and cheered for their team of choice. As the two burly men stood in the middle of the field, many thoughts ran through their heads. They both knew someone was going to die, but defeat was out of the question. The official tossed a polished silver quarter into the air. The coin hit the wet grass with a shiny face of My Teacher clearly showing. The home team will receive the ball. Both anger infested players shook hands and ran back to their sideline. The fans began to cheer as the players took the field again. Little did the fans know of how the players practiced all week long.

The Darius had a very intense practice, while the juniors slacked off, and took an easy week, since their opponent was not that good of a team. The kick-off approached for both teams, almost instantaneously. Memories of past football games, and practices were rushing through our heads. The time clock read fifteen minutes even; time outs were at three a piece, and it was the first quarter. Suddenly, a whistle blew, and brown bundle of pigskin went flying into the air. Running to the ball, one of the The Darius quickly caught the football, stepped left, then to the right, covering positive yardage. Soon after, the ball carrier was brought down by a pack of Warriors, and the ball was first down for The Darius.

I had been waiting for this moment all of my life. The match up of the century was about to begin. The Darius have lost 14 years straight to the juniors. Coaches only daydreamed of beating the undefeated Warriors. As the quarterback called the play, I smiled with joy. The first play of the game was to me. I played running back for the team, so I was going to run the ball. First play, up the middle of the field, I ran for a fifteen yard gain. The next play was to one of my fellow team mates, which he also ran for another large gain of 26 yards.

I could not believe my eyes. After all these years, the game was finally here. We, as a team, were slowly tearing apart the Junior’s defense. Our offense was dominating the ball, and they could not score against our defense. Shortly after the first quarter, the Darius took the lead going into the second quarter, fourteen to zero. The start of the second quarter came as a shock to our team. We were starting to get tired, and make little mistakes that cost us a touchdown. One of the cornerbacks was not on the right coverage, and that lead to six points, followed by an extra point after the touchdown. Our team fumbled again on offense, and turned the ball back over to the juniors, resulting in another junior touchdown. We all hung our heads as the juniors celebrated their score, and taunted our players. As we approached our sideline, the coach had a few words of his own to share with the team. “Listen up here boys, it ain’t over yet. If you give up now, you are going to loose. That is the sport of football. If you give up, you lose.” I was not going to let 5 years of previous football experience go to waste, just because I was tired. We as a team knew our coach was serious, as a tiny tear drop formed in the corner of his eye.

Half time came about, as we all headed to the locker room for a sip of cool water, and a long speech made by the coaches. To my surprise, the coach was very calm with us as he drew out plays with piece of white chalk on the board. The coach mainly concentrated on the linemen, and the quarterbacks. As I sat there in the locker room, I knew what I had to do. I knew that the team was depending on my skills. Visions of victory ran through my head. I visualized the opponent as a measly bowling pin, and myself as the bowling ball. My imagination started to run wild. As I felt the adrenaline running through my veins, my body started to tremble with anger. I thought to myself, “They really do think we can’t win, and I have to prove them wrong.”

The next quarter, our team took the field. With anger and rage in my eyes, I was ready. I was a true lean, mean, killing machine. Nothing was going to get in my way. My head steamed a white smoke. The weather slowly began to get colder a cold front moved in. The sky, covered with clouds, grumbled at us as we called our plays, and ran them. As the end of the third quarter approached us, both teams were overcome with fatigue. The score remained at fourteen to fourteen.

The weather began to get cold, and small droplets of water started to fall from the ocean like sky. I felt the nervousness of the crowd, as the clanging of the cow bells came to a halt. Coaches paced back and fourth, as we headed into the fourth quarter. Each team got two possessions on offense. Neither team had the strength to penetrate the defense. Three minutes remained on the time clock. The weather took over the game, pouring down with rain from the black sky. It was first down and ten for the Darius. The play was called in the huddle, and the players sprinted up to the line. The play consisted of me running to the right, and the quarter back was going to toss the ball to me.

“Down, set, hut, hut, hike!” As I took off to the right side of the field, I suddenly felt a burst of energy. My bones felt relaxed, and my muscles replenished. The quarterback tossed me the ball, as I ran frantically to the outside of the playing field. I couldn’t believe my eyes, as I viewed the hole made for me to run through. Fifteen yards down the field, I met up with one of my old friends. The cornerback slipped and fell onto the turf in his attempt to tackle me. As I darted up the sideline to the endzone, I smiled with joy. The crowd went wild. Popcorn spilled onto the wet ground. Cow bells once again sounded as the raindrops still poured down. I will never forget that moment of my life. The smile on my face was literally being pulled up by strings that wouldn’t seem to let go.

Our kicker went on to kick the extra point, as only one minute remained on the time clock. The Darius went on to beat the juniors. I could see it now on the front page of the town news paper. “darius demolishes juniors for the first time in 14 years!” We finally beat the best team in the world! As we celebrated, and jumped around on the soggy grass, a tear came to my eye. It was all hitting me now. I finally achieved the goal of my life! I could not control the tremendous smirk on my face. As I watched the coach from the opposing team cry in agony, I thought to myself, “That must be what they call the agony of defeat.” I knew that the moment of my life I had long waited for, was gone. Only memories are left in my mind, and I cherish every single one of them.


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