Our dad is the one who put the love for football in us. Our dad played football in college for the CU buffs, and football has been around us our entire lives.
When we were little, we would go to CU football games against rivals like Nebraska and Oklahoma. The CU fight song was the first song we ever learned and we had it memorized by five years old. Our dream was one day to play for the Buffs just like our dad.
We learned everything we know about football from our dad. He was our coach in the little league and is a coach at Valor. For the last ten years he taught us how to play the game and all the ins and outs of becoming a great football player. We bonded over football, and we would watch college football and the NFL all day long, only getting up to get food.
As twins, we would always compete one-on-one. We just needed a quarterback to throw to us. The first person to volunteer would always be our dad. He would be out there for hours at a time throwing us the ball.
My first experience of football was going to a college game when I was four years old. It was the Buffs vs. the Nebraska Cornhuskers. I remember being a little kid and just wanting to be on that eld. When I was about six or seven years old, I dreamed of being a CU Buff. I was seven years old, the youngest you can be to play football when I was first starting playing Tackle Football. We could not find a seven-year-old team to join, so my brother and I joined an 8-year-old team. I dominated in little league. I was a starter both ways and for my entire little league football career.
I entered my freshman year of football thinking that I should be playing on the JV team and not freshman football. I was feeling like this because I dominated my little league team and thought I should have been moved up. It was a humbling experience for me when I didn’t make it. It taught me that I had to work, and that I can’t just expect everything to be handed to me.
My sophomore year was coming up, and I had a great spring and summer practice. I was in a competition for the fifth spot on the varsity offensive line, and at worse would be the sixth man and would be rotating in and getting some playing time. Exactly seven days before our first game, I hurt my knee. I subluxed my patellar tendon, or in English, I dislocated my kneecap. I came back about a month later, but I did it again. At the end of the season I had surgery to repair my knee so it would never happen again.
The next six months was the hardest part of my life. The things that I loved to do seemed like they got ripped away from me. I felt very lonely during this time. It was like I wasn’t a part of the football team. When everyone else was going to run or lift, I felt horrible that I could not be with them, and I would have to go alone to rehab. I felt like I was getting worse while everyone else around me was getting better.
This hurt because my whole identity was in football. When I was recovering, I thought I was getting weaker and worse at football. I diminished my worth as a person because I thought I was getting worse. Through that experience, I learned my identity should not be in football. Once I came to this realization, it was like something got lifted off my back. The only way I could have come to that realization was through my injury, so I am thankful that God helped me through such a hard time in my life.
My junior year rolls around, and I am ready to play. My surgery is all healed, and I have a new perspective that allowed me to play freely. I started at left tackle the entire year. During my junior year, I had to learn how to be a leader. We had a poor game one week, and our offensive line coach came up to me and said, “You are the best player on our offensive line and one of the top players on our team, and you need to lead.” From that point on I have tried to make it a priority to lead the of- fensive line and our team. I have learned how to become a vocal leader, something I would have never learned if it weren’t for my coach.
My twin brother plays right next to me at left guard. I cannot describe in words what it is like to play right next to him. The best experience I will ever have with my brother is when we lined up together in the 2016 state championship game. We are so close to each other that we can telepathically communicate with each other on the field. It has been a blessing to play right next to him my entire life.
I have always had a love for the game of football. Some of my earliest memories were playing with my brother one-on-one in the backyard. I loved football so much that my dad allowed me to play tackle football a year early. It didn’t matter that
I was the youngest kid on the team, I still dominated. As a kid I had anger issues, and I used football to help. I knew if I could just bottle up my anger I would be able to unleash it on someone on the football field. Although it was not healthy, it made me play with an edge. But I started to lose my edge as I learned how to control my anger issues.
Coming to Valor, I was hoping to play JV my freshman year. Unfortunatly, freshmen didn’t get the chance to play on the JV team. I was disappointed but I used that to regain my edge. I needed to prove to the coaches that I should play JV. It’s funny to me now because I never played a snap of JV football, but I was determined to play JV.
Sophomore year came around and I felt the need to prove myself. I would spend 3-4 hours a week in film and went all out in our practices. I was in a position battle with my brother and a senior for the fifth and sixth spots. My brother got hurt and the senior beat me out. I was the sixth man as a sophomore.
The first actual game we played was against Pomona. I got into the game and on the first play I let up a sack. I immediately got pulled from the game. I didn’t play for the rest of the half. However we had an offensive lineman who was having a horrible game, so I got the chance to redeem myself in the second half. And I did.
Throughout that week of practice my shoulder was hurting. I didn’t think much about it but in the game I hurt it again. Monday practice I went for a block and I felt my shoulder joint roll out of the socket and shoot back in. I learned that it was a torn labrum, and the recovery would be eight months. It was a hard time. I isolated myself. It took me until halfway through my junior season to finally open back up. It was a dark time for me and I learned a lot about myself.
Junior year was very difficult in the beginning. I tried to come back too soon and my shoulder wasn’t ready. I lost out the starting job and came off the bench. It was frustrating to keep my same position when four offensive linemen graduated the year before.
I committed to myself that I would do whatever the team needed, and if I got another chance, I would play like it was my last time.
God taught me how to be a leader through this. At some point, the team needed me to play at every position, so I played where the team needed me. I learned the responsibilities of everyone, not just myself.
There are different leaders on a football team: the vocal leader, the work ethic leader, and the physical leader. My role changed from the work ethic leader to the physical leader. We didn’t have a physical leader and it was showing. It is my responsibility to set the tone during both practice and games.
The game of football has taught me a lot. I am glad that I will continue to play football throughout my college career. It has been a blessing to play with my twin brother. It’s amazing to know that every time I suit up, he is right next to me at tackle.
The reason I play football is because I love the game that has taught me and continues to teach me so much about myself.