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Never Quit or Give Up: Me Playing Flag Football

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It was a bright Saturday morning at the fields I was seven years old and all that was going through my head was “just quit, you’re not good” and I think “just go home and watch tv.” The thoughts just kept continuing and now I was thinking, “you will never be good. They are better without you,” but then all of a sudden, these thoughts were halted by the sharp blow of the referee’s whistle. It was now time for the game to start.

For as long as I can remember, I have always loved playing flag football. I started playing flag football when I was in first grade. I would always be asking my parents, “when is my next practice?” or “when is my next game?” I still remember how horrible I was then, and I had no clue what I was doing, but I still had a lot of fun and kept playing.

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My name is Kyla which means victorious. I think that this name suits me because ever since I was younger, I have always been competitive. In first grade, I began playing flag football. Not only did I love the sport because it was fun but looking back, it has taught me a lot about teamwork. Everyone always says, ‘practice makes perfect’ which I do not necessarily agree with but I do believe that practice and determination does lead to significant improvement. I remember the first time I started playing and I was horrible. When I first started playing, I could not catch or pull flags, I was clueless what was even going on. However, years later I am still playing and that is no longer the case.

Two years ago, on a rainy Saturday, we were playing in the Superbowl. My team was number one in the division. I remember us being on the 15-yard line. It was 3rd and goal; I was playing receiver and ran to the back of the endzone. With the rusher getting closer to the quarterback, she released the ball. As I saw it getting closer to me but low to the ground, I slid. I was then on the ground in the back of the endzone as the ball whizzed right past the defender into my hands. I do not remember much from that game except for the four touchdowns I scored, my three interceptions, and getting the first-place divisional trophy as well as the first place Superbowl trophy in the ceremony following the game. The final score of our Superbowl game was 42-0. That game made me feel so good because we played really well, and I could see how much I improved since I first started playing.

When I was in seventh grade, my sisters and I started a travel flag football team with my dad as the coach. I am now seventeen years old, and I still play. In May we went to Texas for the World Championship. We beat the number one team in the world to move on to the Championship game. With just under a minute left in the Championship game, we were winning 12-6. We were on defense, and the other team was on our 36-yard line. They ran the first play and our rusher sacked the quarterback for a loss of four yards. It was now second down; they were on the 40-yard line with 48 seconds left in the game, and they ran a pass option for a gain of 18 yards. Now on our 22-yard line with 35 seconds left in the game it was 3rd down, and they ran another play for a gain of 3 yards, they got the first down. Now all the defense had to do was hold them until the last 30 seconds ran off the clock. Unfortunately, the other team ended up scoring and got the extra point making the score 12-13. We got the ball back, starting on our 14-yard line with only 22 seconds left in the game. We gained 40 yards on our first play getting down to their 26-yard line leaving 10 seconds on the clock. Our coach called a timeout. We would only have enough time to run one more play. When the timeout ended, we lined up quickly. Our quarterback called out the cadence, the ball was snapped and thrown. This was surely our last play of the game. The pass was caught down field, she was running for the touchdown. The defender was a few steps behind and dove for her flag barely grabbing the end of one of the flags. We were down on the three-yard line as the time ran out. Although in the end we fell short, losing the final game by one point, it was still such a great experience and we all have grown as a team so much. Our team is now second in the world. Starting from playing recreational flag football, to getting better, starting a travel team in 7th grade, and building up a travel team that is now ranked second is the world as a senior in high school stands to show that anything is possible if you are determined and work for it.

Looking back to when I first started playing in first grade, I am glad that did not listen to the thoughts going through my head. If I would have stopped playing back then, I am really not sure where I would be now, since flag football has become such a large part of my life. Over all the years of playing flag football I have truly learned a lot about the sport and I have also learned a lot about teamwork and determination. My team is determined to make it back to the World Championship next year and to take the title of World Champions. It is evident that no one should ever give up on anything. No matter what it is, even if we think we are bad at something, always keep trying and practicing then over time there will be improvement seen. Flag football has become such a large part of my life that not only do I play rec as well as travel, but now I also coach a team of five to eight-year-old kids because I want to share my love for the sport I started playing at their age.

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