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By Jordan Hansen, Marion senior
MARION — Every year, seniors at Marion High School are asked during a Thursday night team dinner why they play football.
The answers range from “I like to hit people” to “It’s a good way to spend time with my friends” and everything in between. All are very true and to the point, something a player is expected to say in front of his teammates.
Last Thursday it was my turn to tell why I loved the game, and it got me thinking.
First and foremost, I play because I simply love football. There is no other way to say it. It’s just something I love to do.
But it goes deeper than that. I play for my friends and teammates. I play for my community and my family. I play because I want to represent my school and team the best I can in a world that is severely lacking good role models.
The best feeling in the world is when our team runs off the field at halftime through a tunnel of kids trying to get high-fives. I don’t really know if there is a better feeling than seeing those kids’ faces light up when they get to touch the athletes they idolize.
Marion has a deep tradition in football, as shown by how much people care about the team. Driving around the little district we call home, one may see many Marion football flags and all sorts of cars with Marion stickers on them. In addition, I’ve never seen the stands anything other than full on a Friday night.
The love the community has for this team has kept up the tradition of good Indian football throughout the years. We play because we love the game, but I feel that we also play to raise up this community.
Another reason I play this game is to set an example for my two younger brothers. Being the oldest has many perks, but the best by far is being able to watch my younger brothers play. It’s truly a special feeling being able to teach the game to someone else, using lessons I have learned. I firmly believe there are certain things that cannot be taught by anyone other than an older brother, and I want to be that older brother.
Even teaching the game to someone who isn’t related can be rewarding and every year I have been given an opportunity to do this through Marion’s kids camp. Just watching the kids develop into better players while having tremendous amounts of fun makes playing football well worth it.
Brotherhood is another reason I love this game so much. On and off the field, your team is your team. You may not be best friends with everyone on the team, but you know the team as a whole will have your back when times get rough. Nothing compares to this bit of knowledge. My team is my family and that bond is unbreakable.
The stronger the family bond, the more successful the team. I have heard coaches say that for a long time, but only now do I fully understand. A team has to have trust in each other and, once that trust is there, a team can reach its peak potential.
I try to take advantage of every second I play because I know this team will only be together for a limited time. But this is something I will remember for the rest of my life.