Monday, May 24, 2004

( This essay won Max a Scholarship from the Lions Club Ventura County
All Star Football Team 2004)

Dad moved away to Virginia, after he and my mother had divorced,
and weekly phone calls and trips in the summer were the only influence he
still had over my brother and me. I asked my father what would make me a
better football player once, over the phone, and what he has told me I have
tried to apply in many aspects of my life, he told me .Be more focused,
more dedicated, more humble, and above all enjoy the game..I have tried
to make these points my strengths in the four years I've been in High School
and I think my understanding of them has become better with practice. Being
focused meant that I needed to clear my mind when a task was at hand so
that I could execute it. I did that when I took AP English in my junior
year, I thought for sure that the class would kill me but when I just sat
down at the computer and began to type or to sit down in my chair and read
a book I could get it done and ended up getting A's both semesters and
earning a new respect from my English Teacher. Being more dedicated meant a
of things, but when I think about being dedicated I remember what my coach
once told me, 90 percent of success is showing up. Dedication to something
ensures that when you get the opportunity to succeed you will have the
skills and mind set to go about doing it. I was dedicated when I went to the
room everyday during the summer and during the off season of my junior year.
The lifting I did then gave me strength to play my senior year but also
gave me confidence in my abilities and skills to train for my football
career in college. Being humble was one thing that took the hardest to do.
that I couldn't accept that other people were better at things then me,
but that it didn't matter. Being humble to me is a matter of knowing that
somebody's skills exceed my own, or that they are bigger or stronger or
faster, and that having this knowledge only means one thing, that I am
properly informed and aware of the challenge. If one never is truly aware of
actual challenge in front of them and what their own abilities are than
they can never overcome the obstacle. I always thought I knew what the old
man said when he told me to enjoy the game, he mean the hitting people part,
right? I knew that I loved my team mates and that playing against other
teams was fun, so I thought that was enjoyment. But on the last night time
practice of the season I finally realized what he was trying to say. The
cold air chilled my face and hot gusts of air burst out of boy's faces,
the stadium lights blared but the night time stars still shined, and the
community feeling of being on a team wrapped around each person and
accumulated in me with a laugh. Only yesterday, it seemed, that I was a
freshman, only
yesterday, it seemed, that I was the new kid at school in the 5th grade,
only yesterday it seemed that I was held in my father's arms as we toured
the Santa Monica Pier. No wonder my father had told me to enjoy the game,
it goes by so quickly and seems so fleeting after it is done that if you
can truly appreciate the moments you get as they occur then you can live
the happiest life of all. by max hodge

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