Ever since I was younger I always been a large boy, and strong as an ox. Everyone in my family knew I was going to be a star in some type of sport, however none of them thought it would turn out to be football. To be a football player you have to be a special type of human being, it is a grimy, dirty type of sport. My brother was already playing it, so it was on a matter of time before I was on that field as well. I was only 12 years old at the time so my mom was kind of skeptical, but that did not stop my dad from taking me to see my new team on that Monday night at practice.

Being I use to watch football on television I thought to myself, “I want to be a quarterback.”  However my dad and brother said, “ I would recommend talking to the coach about a position. He will make the ultimate decision depending upon your talent and skills and will place you in a position that fits in with the needs of the team,” basically they were trying to tell me I was too large to play Quarterback. Time goes on and I go to meet the coaches and I am about as nervous as you can be at that point. The first thing the coach said was “Man are you a big boy,” my dad smiling he said, “thanks he is about to start playing for your team,” which was a team in Ontario called Creekside Titans.

My first day of practice was highly overwhelming I can remember everything my coach said we were going to do. He started just like this: Evaluate players for positions and put them into the correct position on offense and defense that fits the players abilities and the teams needs best. Teach the players how to interact properly with the coaching staff and other players. This is what many people refer to as learning how to be “coachable”. Develop an enthusiasm within the kids for playing football and playing on our team. Teach the fundamental building blocks of base blocking and tackling (yes without pads and without contact) teach the base numbering system and play calling system for the offense. Teach proper stances and splits. Teach the explosive first step and for the offensive linemen their explosive first 2 steps. For backs we determine who our backs are at the first practice, seating the ball and ball security. Learning proper body lean and accelerating through contact (dummy contact).Teach the base defensive formation, the goals and base philosophy of the defense. At the end of week 1 all players will be in their offensive and defensive positions, know what positions they are in and what it is called. At this point I am just like this all sounds foreign but strangely I ended getting all this information in within a couple of weeks.

A couple of weeks roll by and games come around and my coaches already see me as a leader on our team and I am loving every second of this is new sport. I remember the first speech he gave us was “While our competition may be practicing 5 nights a week and conditioning their brains out, we are practicing just 3 nights a week and our kids are not only having fun, but they are learning the game of football. The moral of this youth football story is to seriously consider everything you do in practice when coaching youth football. See if there is anything that should be cut out so you can concentrate on developing great fundamentals as well as developing a love and appreciation for the game in your players. So we go out on the field and my coach is telling me he is going to need me to stop the run and rush the quarterback. I was a defensive tackle and an excellent one at that for it to be my first year playing. I got in my game mode and everything was kind of in slow motion when I actually got onto field playing an actual game against the opposing team. I wanted to see how swell I actually was going to be against somebody else. I was already the star of my team and it was only my first year, my coach kept saying “Kyon, you showed it at practice now let’s show it right here right here in front of the fans.”                                                                                                                      I played defense, so I had to go against the offensive line which was the huge guys across from me. I am telling you these where the biggest 12 and 13 year olds I had ever seen in my life; however, I was not going to let that stop me from making tackles. Defense is my favorite because I find it more fun and less complicated. My favorite part was when I got in at defensive tackle. I remember getting in a three-point stance waiting for the ball to be snapped. When the ball was snapped the running back who carries the ball, rushed at the guard, it was a run play to my side. I got past the guard which are the big offensive lineman, and made the tackle. It was now second down, I waited for the offensive line to get out of the huddle. When the guard came to the line I got into my stance. When the ball was snapped I rushed at the guard again, then suddenly I realized that it was another run to my side. I got past the guard then I made the tackle again. It felt good to get two tackles in a row, it was third down now and I knew it was about to be a pass play. When the guard come to the line I got into my stance and waited for the ball to be snapped. When the ball was snapped I busted out of my stance and hit the guard. It was a run to the other side I still went after the ball carrier but I didn’t make the tackle. It was now fourth down and they were going for it, the guard came to the line and I got into my stance. The ball was snapped I ran at the guard and hit him, it was a pass play and they were passing it to my side. The pass was incomplete and it was now our ball. That was my first ever time playing football and it was an actual success! I will never forget it and my coaches praised me day after day game after game. Now I am here today thanking coach Brown for shaping into the football player I am today.