Where Have You Been, Justin?

The past few months have been a long road filled with some wonderful memories. It has been quite a journey. Ever since August, it’s been high school football season and I have been slammed with homework, tests, football practice, and college decisions. All of this has put a ton of stress on me- both physically and mentally. With football, there is always extremes. It is never “just right” at practice as far as temperature wise. It is either blazing hot (June through September) or icy cold (October through December.) Some days I would get home from a cold practice and just do my homework and go to bed, not even thinking about making a blog post, video, or communicating with my followers at all. This is the first football season that I’ve felt insanely burnt out.. normally about 6 games into the season I feel a little sick and tired, but this year it was different. My body was worn out almost from day one.

 

My senior season began at Boise, Idaho when we went on a 22 hour journey to visit Boise State University for a full-contact camp. What an incredible experience that was! Our team had 4-a-day practices with a scrimmage at night for almost a week. The whole camp seems almost like a blur – everything happened so fast and we were always busy doing something. After practice, I had just about enough time to take my sweaty clothes and pads off, lay down and check my phone for five minutes, and then it was off to the dining hall. The food was wonderful and all you can eat! They had a variety of different cuisines from American burgers and fries to Chinese food with rice to Mexican burritos and tacos – oh, and did I mention the ice cream? We got to meet the coaching staff and a few of the Bronco players as well. Chris Peterson broke us out of each practice and the strength and conditioning coach led us through flex and stride (active stretching) at the beginning of each session. I’m a defensive back, so I got to work with Jimmy Lake on my technique on a daily basis. The camp had some very talented athletes from all over the country. On our last day there, my team played a game against a school from Washington who had won their State Championship at the highest level for the last six years. We played hard and beat them 28-7.

 

After I got back from Boise State in mid June, I began preparing my body for the season ahead. All my friends had jobs and were busy almost everyday, so I really started to take lifting weights seriously. I would wake up at 7:00 AM everyday and head to the high school. I did a split workout and trained my upper body Monday, Wednesday, Friday and my legs Tuesdays and Thursdays. It was tough to put on serious mass with summer baseball games four times a week and football practice at night.  I managed to gain a few pounds and I felt like I was ready for the season – there was only one issue. A month before our first game, I pulled my Piriformis muscle playing baseball. It was a hot day and I didn’t stretch as well as I probably should have. I hit a hard ground ball between short and third and came hard out of the box. When my foot hit first base, I felt a weird pain in my hip. The third base coach gave me the steal sign, so I took off. Standing on second base, it started throbbing and hurting more, almost like there was fire inside my leg. After scoring on a double, I sat down in the dugout and knew something wasn’t right. The doctor told me I had pulled my Piriformis and I should rest, not run on it, and go to physical therapy for six to eight weeks in order to strengthen it again. Talk about a great start to your senior year! I decided I’d go to physical therapy to help heal my leg, but I couldn’t stop playing football or baseball. I started taking it a little easier on leg exercises and I focused as much as I could on my flexibility. Purchasing a foam roller was definitely a good investment and it relieved a lot of pain I had after working out or playing games.

 

The first day of school rolled around on August 6th. That was the first day of my senior year and day one of the football season I was about to embark on – my last one ever. The next couple of weeks all ran together in a blur. To me, the worst part of any season is the initial time of just practicing before you can participate in any games. The anticipation was building and my team couldn’t have been more excited for the first kickoff. We beat Widefield High School by a score of 42-7. The next few weeks went really well and we were playing fundamental football. Fast forwarding to October 5th, we were handed our first loss of the season. There were three teams on our schedule in 2012 that I was nervous about, and we lost to all three of them by 3 points or less. Ponderosa, who was #2 in the state, beat us 3-0. Our All-American kicker missed two field goals that would have put us on top.. what a heart breaker. Similar stories took place for the other couple losses. Missed field goals, interceptions returned for touchdowns, and fumbles kept us from being undefeated. At the end of the regular season, we were 7-3 and went into the playoffs ranked 12th in the state. We were scheduled to play #5 Monarch in the first round. This team had one loss but we felt very confident going into the game. They run the ball over 95% of the time and we play a run-stopping defense, so we definitely had the advantage.

 

Our offense started with good field position and scored within the first four plays of the game. Boom! 7-0! Our defense played outstanding and we completely shut them down in the first half. It was 14-0 going into the break. When we came back out, we lost some momentum. Our young quarterback threw an interception which was returned for a touchdown. After getting the ball back, our starting running back fumbled the ball near our own 20 yard line. The opponent was able to capitalize on this and they kicked a field goal. We now had a good game on our hands. After battling for another quarter, our QB threw another interception that was returned inside the 5 yard line. They scored and we just couldn’t find the mustard to come back. The final football game of my career was over, 24-14.

 

A 200 mile trip back to my high school put us home after midnight on Friday night. The next morning, I woke up and I was happy to be home and healthy. Some soreness was lingering throughout my body, but overall I felt pretty good. You never want something to end for the last time, especially your senior football season, but in a way I was ready for it to be over. Our dream of winning the state championship was over, but I was quick to realize that I have some incredible things on the horizon in my life.

 

4 hours per day, 5 days a week, for 5 months. It has been a hell of a journey. I’ve met some amazing new people and spent a lot of time with my wonderful teammates. Football season has come to an end, but I’m back and well rested. I look forward to writing more blog posts, creating more videos, and helping and interacting with more people than ever. Thank you for sticking with me over the past few months.

 

Until next time,

 

 

Justin

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