I received my first football on my 10th birthday from my dad. I remember watching the NFL games every Sunday, eating nachos, and wearing my kids-sized Pats jersey. It was always my favorite day of the week, and not just because I got to watch football, but because it was the only day I really ever got to spend with my dad.
When I was younger, and before my father got a stable career as a computer programmer, he used to work long hours. I would be asleep by the time he got home, and the times he was home early, he would be sleeping from exhaustion. Sundays, though, was the one day he didn’t work, and it became a tradition, a source of bonding for us, even to this day.
From a young age, I dreamt of being a professional football player. That first ball was a sign of support from my father and motivated me to want to work hard to make him proud. On the sticker attached to the wrapping paper were words in his handwriting that said, “To my future star football player.” I remember beaming, and tearing open the wrapping paper in a fit of excitement. I remember running up and hugging him. I remember my first time catching the ball, hitting the ground with a thud as my brother tackled me.
I started playing football everyday with my friends at school, in my neighborhood, and with my family. Shortly after, I joined the Junior Football League, and played the position of wide receiver. My mom was not happy about it. She thought the sport was too dangerous and especially with me being the youngest, she was always afraid of me getting hurt. My dad would always say, “You need to stop babying him and let him pursue his dreams.”
I played football all throughout middle and high school, but stopped playing when I started college. Even though I never made it pro, football remains my favorite sport, and I still play with my friends and family sometimes. We still watch football every Sunday, eating nachos, me wearing my adult-sized Pats jersey besides my father. I still own the football I received when I was 10, And I still dream of being a part of professional football. Now, though, I aim to coach professionally, and am starting to pursue that goal by coaching the junior teams. “Blue-82! Blue-82! Hut-hut, hike!”
Watch this great NFL video: