An Uncertain Pegleg

Khalid HusainSeptember 3, 2018The Question of MeaningAwesome Moments
An Uncertain Pegleg

I felt uneasy as I threw my bag onto the bus and circled around to board it. The Stuyvesant Junior Varsity football team, the Peglegs, was 3-0, and we were about to play the only other undefeated team in our division.

Being currently undefeated in itself was a great accomplishment as Stuyvesant is a high school that has more of a reputation for its robotics and math teams than its sports teams. Throughout the entire morning I was thinking, “What if we don’t win this? Will people consider our first winning season in more than ten years a fluke? If I get to play, will I somehow screw up?” I stepped onto the bus, the putrid stench of sweat, rusted shoulder pads, and a sense of general anxiety taking over.

I took a seat next to my friend Donald, who would be starting as a lineman for his first time in his freshman season. I could tell he was nervous just as I and all the other ninth graders were; but soon we got to talking and stopped over analyzing what could happen. The time passed quickly, and sooner than I expected we arrived at 2630 Benson Avenue in Brooklyn, to play Lafayette High School.

When we walked off the bus, uncertainty suddenly restarted its relentless assault on my confidence: I am the youngest person on the football team as well as the smallest. I was scared about what might happen if one of our starting players got injured and I had to step in for them. Would I botch it for my team? Maybe we would lose because of me. However, after I got suited up and started doing warm-ups with my team, I started to feel at home and my fears were temporarily quieted. Okay, not exactly at home, but the football team is really supportive of everybody, regardless of age, and is like a huge family.

After about an hour of jogging, stretching, and walking through plays, the captains of both teams walked briskly to the center of the field with the referees to decide which team would kick the ball and start the game. We won the coin toss and decided to receive the ball from the Patriots. On the sidelines all of us were pounding our hands against our pads before every play; everybody chanting and clapping as a unit, while our team executed perfect plays. Even our running-back’s mother was yelling louder than all of the other team’s parents put together.

In the fourth quarter, when we were up 26-14, Coach Rivera called my name and put me into the game. Right as I heard my name I cringed, and wished there was a way to avoid going on the field and getting hit. A split second afterwards though, I was resigned; there was no way I could possibly get out of my predicament…I’d get hit hard regardless. As I jogged into the huddle, I was greeted by all of the starters, “Khalid! Way to go, finally getting some playing time!” Every play seemed to go by in slow motion and I performed all of my blocks almost perfectly, even against a kid who was six inches taller than me. I got hit and jarred once, but the feeling was only momentary and the pain was nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be. After about eight minutes, the game came to an end and our entire team ran screaming, “4-0!” to our side of the field where our coach as well as our quarterback gave us some inspirational words to ponder .

That game was one of the best times of my life. Every minute of that pure hour was exhilarating…

That game was one of the best times of my life. Every minute of that pure hour was exhilarating and I think that working together with other people to achieve a common goal bonds everyone together. We all worked hard to be where we are today, eight hour practices five days a week a month before school started, weight lifting, a ton of conditioning and sprints, as well as hours at home memorizing plays. In the end, all of that work paid off and I think that is the reason for my deep feeling of satisfaction; to put so much effort, time, and commitment into a goal, then to not only fulfill the goal, but go above and beyond the expectations that others had of me and I had for myself.

Khalid Husain is a senior in high school. He will attend SUNY Stony Brook next year. He has a deep passion for stories and writing, and an academic passion for the sciences.