He stepped foot on the field; intimidated, but ready to carry on the legacy. Knowing all of the successful shoes that stepped onto this field before him was what drove him to entertain playing for North Dakota State University in the first place. It echoed in his mind, they’d won 8 National Championships, would he be part of the 9th?
The team collaborated like he’d never seen before and their comfort level with each other was unheard of, even with so many new players. He attributed most of it to the coach, but he knew their level of expectations when recruiting as well. They were competitors and they wanted athletes who desired competition as much as they did.
He called his best friend after that first practice and he knew he’d hear it.
“So, do you regret going to the tundra yet?” His friend joked.
“Not yet, man they’re intense and I dig it! It’s going to be quite an interesting year.” He replied.
Each practice seemed to get more and more intense. Yet, his love for the sport and the team continued to grow. He knew this spoke to his competitiveness and that’s when he finally realized that that fire is what they saw in him, and why he was chosen to be there. He wouldn’t quit. He wasn’t willing to give up when things got tough. He was a competitor. Though there were quite a few days he didn’t want to head to practice…but, he blamed that on the negative 30 degrees windchill.
When he was interviewed after the game and asked whether he was shocked they had made it this far in his first year, he was dumbfounded. Shock wasn’t an emotion he felt when they reached the semi-finals.
“I would’ve been shocked if we didn’t make it this far. We are competitors and this team refuses to quit. I’m honored to be part of this team.”
Emotions ran through every vein in his body. He was part of something so much bigger than himself and though he’d realized it every day for the last few months, it became even more real that day. As he walked off that field knowing there was 1, hopefully 2 games left in his first year he started to get emotional. The growth he had experienced and the fire that was inside him burned even brighter.
Then, the semi-finals came and went and the day they had all been working for was approaching, the National Championship. His family and friends all booked their tickets to be as close to the action as possible and he was ready. He was born for this.
The fans were louder than the music. As he stepped his foot onto that field one last time that season, he felt his heart beating so loudly that he could no longer hear the music or the fans. This is what he had worked for. This was worth all the sacrifices. This was worth navigating those days of negative 30 below windchill. This was a day for another National Championship.