FC: Crossroads | By: John Sweetnam
1: I can remember when I was only 4 years old. My dad took me out to the park and handed me a pee-wee sized football. He set up a few cones from one end of the field to the another, it was only about 20 yards but for a four year old it seemed like a mile. My father should on the other end. And said to me "Son, you know what football is right." I moved my head up and down like I knew that he was talking about. "Its that stuff on TV you and yours friends watch." I said "Right!" he said. "but its more than. I once played the sport, but I was never any good. I loved it with all my heart. I worked so hard but... never mind." he said. He paused for a moment, but remembering what he was saying he started up again. The point is I'm going to teach you how to how to play today... you like that son?"
2: I nodded my acting as if I knew what he was talking about. "Thats my boy!" he said. "Your mother thinks its too early for you to start learning how to play." "So this is going to be are little secret okay." he said "Okay dad." I said. "Alright now lets get to it! Before it gets dark." He explained to me exactly what to do. All I had to do was get to the second set of cones from the the first set 20 yards without stepping out of bounds. Simple I thought, but I had no idea my dad would be guarding me. Even though he was just bear crawling he could still catch me easily. Then when he caught me he push me down. "Get up son!" he said. It was weird I had never seen this side of him before.
3: He was so serious that I tell what ever we were doing was very special to him. He was not the kind man I once called "Dad". Well at least he wasn't until we got home. Then it was back to normal. No frustration and no angrier, just Dad he was back. Just like that. It took me a while to figured out that when ever we went to the park he was going to act like that a "jerk" basically. Everywhere else he was just plain old Dad. I soon started to hating going to the park, but was too afraid to tell dad. So I said nothing then. Sometimes I wish I had.
4: Days turned into weeks the weeks turned into months, that went by. Then before I knew it years went by. I was still playing football with my dad everyday. As I got better he just kept throwing more stuff at me, making it hard and hardier for me. Never a "Good job Son!" or a "Great sport!" just yelling and work. I got use to it! It actually become encouragement someone to drive for. To get that "Good job son!" from my Dad. I know pretty sad, but thats the way it went.
5: Before I knew it was time to start school. For my dad it was time to for me to start playing pee-wee football. He was so excited to drive me to my first practice even more so to my first game. But that time, I was already a lot better than everyone else. Maybe it was all those days at the park with my Dad or maybe I was just a natural. Whatever it was It didn't matter. I was a beast! First day of school for me was like "oh great, something else to do!" I just knew it would be boring! My Mom packed my lunch and sent me off to school. All the new people scared me at first. Well only cause I didn't have any friends thanks to my dads obsession with Football I never really got to meet anyone at the park, just practice football with my dad.
6: My first day of school was boring and uninteresting. It was easy for me, but not fun. I was a head of all the other kids by a lot. I was just smarter. Pretty soon I started bring home the A's like that. Then my first report card came out. All A's. I showed it to my dad. But like always he was unimpressed with everything that I do. Disappointed I show my report card to my Mother. Expecting the same result I handed it to her slowly. "Whats this?" she said "My Report Card." I replied. "Well lets take A look then. And if there is any failing grades on this no football. okay." she paused for a minute while she look threw it. Scanning for any bad grades.
7: "Son this is great! All A's! wow looks like someone is going to be a Genus." She said. For a moment I was surprised. It was the first real time I had experienced praise of any kind. From anyone, my father never had so and I never sent much time with my mother since I was 4. Everything I've done since then was football stuff with my Dad. After getting that type of reaction from my mom. I knew that I wanted more than football. I started working harder in school, it became something fun for me to work at. It was kinda like my escape from my life of Football.
8: Over the years my life never really changed from that day. I still had my A+ average. My Life still revolved around football,thanks to my dad. I was put in all gifted classes by the 2nd grade. My dad cared more about how I got into select league in Pop Warner. It didn't really matter what team they put me on I was still the best. By the 5th grade I had figured out what I truly wanted to do with my life I wanted to be a Doctor. Not a Professional football player a Doctor. Not just any kind of Doctor, I want to be a great one. Not only that. I wanted to cure Cancer that was my new dream.
9: So even more years went by without me telling my dad what I really wanted to do with my life. In High School I was both a Academic and Football All-American 5A. Scholarships were flowing in from almost every college imaginable. My dad wanted me to go Norte Dame the college he always wanted to get into, but was never good enough to. I already knew where I was going to Attend M.I.T and major in Bio-Medical Engendering. There would be no time for football then. When Senior year rolled around I knew I had to make my final decision and tell all those recruiters to back off. I planned on telling my Dad after the season ended. That day came quickly. I woke up that morning and told my Mom and Dad I made a decision on a College to go to. "Thats great my" mom said. But there is something that me and your father have to tell you and it wouldn't be easy." she said sadly.
10: My Father was holding letter from the Doctor. " Its my test results." he said "What test results?" At that moment my heart almost stopped. I had been so caught up in my own life that I didn't even realized my own father had been being test for Cancer. "I have Lung Cancer, pretty far along too. Can't believe I didn't notice it earlier. The Doctor said maybe we could of done something about, but it's too late now. Spread too far." My farther had been smoking for years as long as I can remember. And now he was going to die because of it and I never tried to stop it. Now how was I suppose to tell my father I wasn't going to be playing his stupid little game anymore. "So son you final decided to go to Norte Dame?" "No I'm going to attend M.I.T and I'm not playing football there." He looked at me like he was confused. "I thought you loved football why would you quit with all your talent?" "No dad you love football.l I never liked playing, but you made me." I said "Son the only reason why I made you play is because I thought you loved it if you told me you didn't like it I wouldn't of done that.
11: Suddenly I felt relieved, but all those years felt so wasted. If I had only said something I could have had a way better relationship with my farther. But when I final say something I learn he was going to die of Lung cancer. Well I wish I had just chosen which path to take in my life. Instead of being trapped between the Crossroads.