1902: The Day That Changed a Life Forever

The ball released from my hands as it began to spiral through the air to reach my buddy leaping toward the end zone. I hit the turf as my helmet made an indention of the metal bar on the ground. I was unfazed; as this happened to me often in football, about the pounding going throughout my body. The crowd began to cheer so loudly I couldn’t even hear my own breath.
“BAM!” I was shoved to the ground. Shaken by tumbling from my opponent, I was brought back to reality by the fact I was not in a stadium, but I was actually lying on my back in the dead grass of the Pasadena park.
“James!? James?!, are you all right man?” my best friend, Mark, yelled.
“I’m all right, I’m all right,” I yelled back.
I got up off of the ground, only to pretend as if everything was fine and I was not in pain. I knew that if I were to mention to Mark of the unending pain in my leg, I would not be able to continue playing football even for enjoyment.
As it was July 12, 1902, the Rose Bowl was an event of the past; yet to me, it seemed of the present. Many events have occurred since the accident, such as the first movie theatre open-ing, and Cuba gaining its independence, but none of that mattered much to me; as all I thought about was football. I dreamed everyday about reliving moments over again. Because of my in-jury I would never be the same, never could I even consider playing for a team again. Even with the ten percent recovery chance, I knew that it was a dream not worth wishing for.
December 26, 1901; it was four days until the rose bowl. My nerves were towering high. Ever since I was young, I envisioned of the crowded stands yelling my name. Not only was I going to be able to play football in front of excited strangers, I was finally getting a chance to be able to prove my father wrong. Other than football, getting my father’s approval has always been something I have longed for.
My father is a middle aged 52-year-old man with grey hair and a permanent frown on his face. He owns a successful wagon business, and he never fails to let everyone know that. George is his name, and mean is his game.
“You will never be a good enough athlete”
“Your dreams are pointless,” my father would say.
His cutting words would make me undeniably insecure for the rest of my life. Since he left me and my mom when I was fifteen, I do not have much respect for him, yet the aching need to make him realize my worth and purpose was beyond me. Because I was getting the chance to play in the Rose bowl with Stanford University, my school, I could finally make him regret leaving my mother and I.
Even though I never really had a strong father figure, I had my loving mother. My moth-er taught me the concepts of love and religion at a young age. No matter the pain or failed op-portunities, I could always count on her to be right there by my side. Little did I know that in just a few days that I would need her there next to me more than ever. Unaware that my life was about to change completely, I continued with my same old habits of football, and education.
As it was three days before the game, training was a necessity. We trained from dawn to dusk. Getting up at 5:00 a.m to make it out to the fields became part of each one of my team-mates lifestyles. But we were only focusing on the game to come.
“Left down! Right down!” As these words were yelled to us from our coach.
As each player waited anxiously for every word our coach would yell to motivate us, we were called into a huddle. As our coach began to speak, he informed our team that the newspa-per reporters were listing all the reasons why they think Stanford was likely to win. These assur-ing words helped us finish the day strong.
The next few days felt as if they were the longest of my life, yet being able to hear the encouragement from my mother helps me through every second of the day. The world seemed almost to only revolve around football.
When I was walking home from the fields of Stanford University , my mother meet me half way from home. As I could see her crying, butterflies swarmed my stomach, because not many things made her cry.
“Oh James, he is home and demanding to see you,” She proclaimed.
As I hurried home with my mothers hand in mine, I couldn’t help but think that this was my opportunity. This was a chance to prove my father wrong, and show him that no matter what he said about me, his words did not define who I am.
As I arrived at home, I was not surprised to find my father waiting on the front porch with fire in his eyes.
“You really think you can play with a college team boy? You think that is going to bring you any success in life?”
My mother pulled me away, as I often let my emotions and anger get ahead of me. While my mother and I walked away from our own home, the animosity toward my father grew even stronger. As I pushed the thought out of my head, I knew that my focus needed to be con-centrated on the upcoming football game.
Game day arrived, and I couldn’t have been more prepared. The annual New Years march began, yet now it was going to be followed with a football game. The Bentley Historical Library said, “The crowd of 8,000 stormed Tournament Park, and the fist 2,500 who arrived ran for the highest priced reserved seats.” Nerves began to kick in like never before. As my team and I gave thanks and praise to God for our talents and opportunities, my coach read from 2 Timothy, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (New In-ternational Version, Tim 4.7). Not only did this put my nerves at peace, but it gave me faith to carry on. Walking into Horseshoe Stadium, known as Tournament Park, I realized that it was my moment to show of my love for this sport.
“Welcoming Michigan University,” a man from the top of the wooden bleachers yelled.
The Michigan team walked onto the field in brand new, almost shining uniforms making our nerves reach the highest level yet. In their newly trending green buttoned down shirts, they had a certain kind of confidence. But no matter the uniforms, my team mates and I shook it off to begin getting our head into game mode.
“1! 2! 3!,” the game began.
As the game started, I lost all thought of nerves. I was no longer there to play to prove something, yet I was there there to put action into my hard work. I was there for my team. I was there to prove my dad wrong. And most importantly I was there for God.
The ball was kicked to our opponents, and the game officially began. I looked off toward the end zone and realized that I was completely open. Screaming loudly to try and get the atten-tion of the quarter back, I saw a figure running with all of his might toward me. I then realized that the ball was headed my way and so was someone else.
July 12, 1902.
Even walking was now a challenge. Yet wondering about the fact of being able to play 100 percent again will always be my biggest challenge. No matter the constant limp or pain of my legs, I will never blame the sport. The sport brought me to who I am today and now I can forever live my life with the fact of being able to kept the memories of football forever, and car-ry the lessons I learned with me always.
Works Cited
Batterson, Steve. “Rose Bowl Facts, Including Who Won the First Game in 1902.” The Quad- City Times, 30 Dec. 20. Web. February 7, 2018
Samuelsen, Rube. The Rose Bowl Game. Doubleday, 1951.
Stadium, Rose Bowl. “History.” Rose Bowl Stadium, www.rosebowlstadium.com/about/history. n.d. Web. February 7, 2018
“1902 Rose Bowl.” Academic Dictionaries and Encyclopedias, enacademic.com/dic.nsf/enwiki/ 8310629.
Timothy. The Holy Bible. Christian Art Publishers, 2016.

ESPN, ESPN Internet Ventures, www.espn.com/abcsports/bcs/rose/s/1902.html. n.d Web. February 7, 2018
Star-News, The Pasadena. “How the First Rose Bowl Was Nearly the Last.” Pasadena Star News, Pasadena Star News, 29 Aug. 2017, www.pasadenastarnews.com/2013/12/23/how- first-rose-bowl-was-nearly-the-last/.