I started playing football at the age of 5. I have two older half brothers that are 7 and 9 years older than me and I remember going to all of their games growing up. Every other week they would come stay with us and we would play kickoff football from couch to couch in the basement. I was like 4 and so they would both go on their knees, throw the ball to me on the other side and I would have to get past them and score by making it to the other couch.
They used to kill me. There was something called high-low, where Marcus would go for my legs and Myles would go for my head and I would literally just get flipped over and destroyed. I remember falling on my neck and shoulders, being in pain, and crying. But I loved every single moment of it. Growing up Sunday football was such a big deal for my family. We had this 3 TV setup in the basement where we could watch the Eagles on the big screen, game mix or another game on the left, and redzone on the right. I fucking loved football and I loved the Eagles even more. One Sunday night, Marcus dressed me in his full Silver Spring Saints uniform and pads. I was obsessed with football and was finally old enough to play. My first football game ever was against the Ellicott City Patriots on a gray Saturday morning. The Patriots kicked the ball off and it was finally my time to shine. We ended up losing the game and afterwards I was distraught and crying my eyes out. Not because we lost but because I only played the league minimum, 7 plays. I got into the car after the game with my parents and was crying and complaining about my lack of playing time. Why wouldn't the coach give me a chance? Why me? Why this, Why that? My dad turned around and looked at me dead in the face and said "You faked your push-ups in practice". That day in the car, instead of coddling me, my dad was on my ass. "How do you expect to play if you are faking your push-ups in practice". It is so easy to fake your push-ups in practice when the coach can't see you. However, who are you cheating? The coach or yourself? See, I was so busy faking my push-ups because they were hard and they hurt, that I didn't think about why I needed to do them in order to get stronger so I can hit this running back on the jet sweep. If you fake your push-ups that running back is hitting you on that jet sweep. All of us have crazy dreams that we so desperately want to accomplish. We often think about the end goal or end person that we want to become. However, in order to get there you have to become better and stronger every single day. Especially (I will say it again), Especially when you are all by yourself and nobody is looking. If I go on the street today and ask 100 people if they are working hard to accomplish their goals, all 100 of them are going to say yes. Of course, we want other people to think that we are getting stronger and better everyday. But, today I want you to think to yourself: Am I really getting stronger? Or am I faking my push-ups?