Time for our next player blogger. This one is Ryan Rossi, star offensive lineman/linebacker for defending state champion Rye. Rossi did a great job, like Henry Smith of Somers and Ryan Kraemer of Tappan Zee. Enjoy:
One and done. That’s some scary stuff, but it’s the reality from here on out. Every game could be our last. For most, it’s the last time they’ll ever suit up. Think about that. We have been battling on the gridiron since grammar school. That’s thousands of hours of hitting, running, thinking, and working. None of us want to let all of that dedication slip into the hands of another team. Loosing would be not only letting your teammates down, but the previous Garnets that graced the field, and the younger version in the program moving up. We remember our first day in pads, never wanting to let that feeling go. Now, any game can be our last in pads. I want my last to be in Syracuse, raising my helmet in the dome.
It’s 2:37 and the bell rings. It’s time for the second part of every Garnets day, the best part—football practice. I walk into the field house, one of my favorite locations in the universe. There have been countless laughs, arguments and pre-game speeches. It’s a place were men can be men, no explanations needed. As I enter I see Topher Triano and Chris Lavelle dancing to Techno music. Within a few minutes, the whole team is into it. It looks like a scene from a nightclub. Once the song ends, we put our pads on, and the feeling enters our blood. We’re playing football. We’re playing for each other. I make sure the Nikes are looking good. I once heard Jerome Bettis say “Look good, feel good; feel good, play good.” That phrase applies to our lockeroom. Its time to get to business. We march down to the field.
Practice can be a grind, especially this time of year. It’s freezing and we all need to get use to that. It’s going to feel like zero in Mahopac. Hopefully, we’ll be able to enjoy that cold one last time. However, practice makes us a team. We are reminded we haven’t won anything this year, and we need to work. Our coaches prepare us well. I wouldn’t trade our coaches for any others. They work hard to get us ready; we play hard to reward them. I look forward to practice because of them.
I’ve always been an offensive lineman. It’s the ultimate reward-
with no glory. It’s grit, a toughness; it’s what football is all about. My fellow linemen are my brothers. We smash each other in practice, working together. All linemen have an intangible quality that comes out when both teams line up. It’s the battling in the trenches that allows one to feel accomplished. Our names will not be on the front page of the papers, but we know in our hearts we’ve worked hard. We all took numbers in the fifties representing our unity. They call us the ‘wise men’ because of our intellectual skills (kidding). It’s an awesome feeling when your teammates are friends and playing together. If Rob Santenglo says he can take out the massive blitzing linebacker, we all know he can. I trust all my teammates and coaches with my life. Out practice is efficient-we work, we focus.
Waiting for the game is the worst. It gives you empty time to think about ways you can mess up, ways to let your team down. We go through every scenario to make sure that won’t happen. I don’t think I’ve ever been hit harder than by Will Ramsey, total haymaker hit. Big Kyle picks me up and we get back to the huddle. I look around and I’m amazed at the talent we have. I’ve never seen so many good players. However, skill means nothing if we’re not focused. That’s the problem at this point in the season. No one, no team, can just go through the motions.
The truth is, we will never play a bad team again. JFK is very good. Pleasantville and Byram Hills are experienced, talented, and determined. Nanuet is tough and their kids come to play. I was talking online with a few of my teammates, and there’s a sense of urgency. We need this for each other. When one hears the word playoffs, your heart rate speeds up, like a hot girl is sitting next to you. We will never walk over a team again. Everyone is gunning for us. How will we respond? Where will we be six weeks from now? All I know is, we’re excited. All of section one is. You got to love the playoffs.
I’m going to cherish every game I play in. I’m going to remember each second with my teammates. Nothing is going to replace the camaraderie I have with my boys. If they take anything away from this season, I want them to know I love being on the field for them, and have their backs in any situation. They have made my senior year special. I will always be thankful to my teammates. We want to reward each other with the ultimate prize-
the ring. I wish I could play high school football forever. Reality check: it’s not going to happen. It’s the last hurrah, end of the move, everything cliché. I wish you could understand. Words will never be able to describe it. It’s love for football, and determination to go out with a bang. Picture being at the beginning of a marathon because that’s where the Garnets are now. It’s the best time of our lives so we need to play the best football of our lives. When you look in the eyes of a determined senior, you see hunger. That’s what I see. Its time to man up and start the race.