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It was August 12, during the summer of 1988. It was around 7:30 in the morning when I woke up, but this morning was different. I smelt the fresh air of a summer morning enter the room. Therefore, I went into the shower just like every other morning, still feeling that this day would be different. Today was the start of my freshmen year at Emerson High School. Emerson was a small town in North Jersey. We had a talented football team. Emerson students believed in tradition, pride, and respect. I had to be at practice by 9 a.m. sharp or else. So I made sure that I was not going to be late because I heard that if you are late you have to run extra after football practice. I took my dirt bike to school. When I arrived, it was like a dream come true, and I could finally play high school football. As I entered the gym, I glimpsed the football gear that had been spread out across the shiny floor my heart began to race.
The seniors had first pick of the equipment and we freshmen received what was left. I was able to scrap up a good uniform for myself. I had found one of the last air helmets that had been left. But, I didn?t get the jersey number that I wanted I settled for ?37.? Then the coach yelled, ?Emerson you got 10 minutes to get on the field.? So I hustled and got on the practice field and started to stretch and get ready. The whistle had blown. Everyone stopped what they were doing and listened to what the coach had to say. He said, ?Get in the E,? so I followed one of the older kids to the ?E? that I had never heard of before. It was a warm-up exercise we did everyday its Emerson tradition. Then the coach paired us up by our respected age groups; I went to the freshmen team. Although I was a small kid, I wanted to play with the big boys.
When I met coach Marotti, he said, ?Hey Kisla what position do you play?? I replied, I am a running back, I mean a four back coach. He said, ?We’ll see Kisla.? We went to offense; coach pulled a wrinkled paper from his back. He started to name off people and, the positions that we were going to play. My name wasn?t called which made me angry anyone that looked at me could tell I was aggravated.
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Meanwhile, we ran several plays while seven of us stood and watched. Coach began to scream at the starting running back he said, ?Give me someone that will run football.? All of a sudden I heard, ?Kisla let?s go? I strapped on my helmet and ran to the huddle. He grabbed my facemask, spitting all over and saying. ?You want to be a four back; let?s see what you have.? I then ran to the huddle as the quarterback yelled, ?Lighting 144 splash.? That was foreign to me.
I looked at Kevin the quarterback, and said to him is that to me? He replied,? Yes that means toss left to you.? We lined up, and I can still remember until this day ?Red 22, Red 22, set hit.? The football was thrown to me, I remember just barely catching it. I ran as hard as I could through the hole, but I ran into the biggest player we had and fell five yards backwards. The whistle sounded and I said to myself, ?Here we go again back to the sidelines.? Surprisingly, the coach had yelled, ?Hey Kisla great job, that?s how the ball is supposed to be run? I felt great. The lesson I learned here is you can do anything that you want as long as you set your mind to it.