Dear Columbus Destroyers, Thank You.

https://twitter.com/AFLDestroyers/status/1110590626909822981

I addressed this in my tweet but I wanted to blog about realizing my lifelong dream of becoming a football kicker and why this means the world to me.

Last Saturday the Columbus Destroyers (of the Arena Football League) held open tryouts for the public for the chance to join their new reincarnation of what was once a force to be reckoned with in 90’s arena football.

As I made the 90 some minute drive to Bo Jackson Dome I felt overwhelmed with a bevy of emotions. When I finally put my Jeep Wrangler Unlimited in park and turned off the halftime speech from Any Given Sunday I took a deep breath, grabbed my cleats, and was ready to show Coach Matthew Sauk what I could do.

As we stretched and warmed up I made small awkward small talk with some of the other guys there. We all shared our background stories, what the Destroyers meant to us and wished each other good luck as we waited to hear the whistle and punch our ticket to glory.

Once the whistle blew we all rushed over to circle around Coach Sauk and took a knee as he thanked us for showing up for the tryouts. As coach brought his pep talk to an end I felt like I could run through a brick wall for him and the Destroyers. But it was the last sentence of his speech which really stuck with me the entire morning. “There may be people that have more talent than you, but there’s no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do.”

As the other kickers and myself stood in formation and listened to the instructions for our kicking drills I suddenly felt lighter, like a weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. I don’t know what it was but all of the sudden I felt like I was my calmest and like I could do anything I put my mind to. As Coach called my name for the drill I casually walked up and just felt like this is what I was destined to do and that all of those sleepless nights where I kicked extra points and drop kick field goals were about to pay off.

As I stood in my stance waiting for the coach to blow the whistle, I took in one last deep breath and kicked a perfect ball right between the narrow uprights. I was ecstatic on the inside but I knew composure was key in securing my spot on the roster.

A few more kickers do the drill after me and they all performed great in their own right, so I knew I’d have to have all cylinders firing on my final kick to earn my spot. As I stepped up for my final kick I again took in a deep breath and waited for the whistle. Coach blew the whistle and I launched the ball into orbit. Coach stopped me and shook my hand and said “Nice kick kid.” I thanked him for the honest feedback and walked back to the bench to hydrate.

After Coach Sauk wrapped things up at the try out by again thanking us for coming I walked out of the Bo Jackson Dome feeling like I left it all on the field on that cold Saturday morning.

I’ve been anxiously waiting to hear back from the Destroyers about my tryout, and to find out via social media made my day. I let out a victory scream at work and thanked my coworkers and boss for employing me and being supportive of my dream and put in my notice effective immediately.

I’ve also paid my half of the rent to my roommate covering until our lease is up next January and packed my Jeep Wrangler Unlimited full of my belongings as I make my way down to my new home….Columbus OHIO!!!

Again big thank you to my parents, God, Coach Sauk and the rest of the Destroyers organization! Let’s bring the Foster trophy back to the great city of Columbus!

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