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Travis VanVoorhis Mr. Harrell English Comp 1 16 Sept. 2013 Down, Set, Go It was a hot summer night at Fawcett Stadium. The bands were playing, and the fans were waiting. Everyone watched as we walked out under the lights, into sure defeat. Timken was a much bigger school, and they said we had no chance, just like the doctor said I had no chance of being on that field only a year before. The previous year, my junior year, Timken came to East Canton to play. I was ready to go, I was ready to prove myself in my new role. For the first time, the team was counting on me to make a difference in the game. Down, set, go, our quarterback yelled, I received the handoff and went around the outside for a first down. I stood up felt a pop and shooting pain. I slowly made my way back to the huddle as my adrenaline started to overcome the pain, and I continued to play. Fifteen seconds till halftime and the ball was on Timkens thirty yard line. Coach Kandel said, Travis we need to score, can you do it? I confidently nod my head. Clay calls the play, Bear rip fly left screen right. On two on two. Ready break. We line up, the ball was snapped the pass was thrown. I ran down the right side of the field, and watched my blockers clear a path straight to the end zone. The touchdown to put us ahead at the half.

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In the locker room, I looked at my knee, trying not to draw attention so no one noticed its swelling and bruising. Holy shit yelled Jason. What the hell did you do? he asked. Quickly I tell him to stop making a big deal of it, so the coaches didnt notice. Jason said, Here use my brace because I never wear it. I tighten the brace as tight as it will go, and I cannot even bend my knee. Then as we prepare to go back out as a team we say, I am only one, but I am still one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And what I can do, and should do, by the grace of God, I will do! These words echoed in my head, and I knew I had to finish the game. We make our way back to the field with emotion and confidence at their peak. We take the field after halftime, and the game is pretty even. Neither team can seem to move the ball. However, Timken manages to go ahead in the middle of the fourth quarter. Now with two minutes left in the game, we were down by one. We have the ball, and again the quarterback calls my number. Clay said, Pro ohio smash. Ready break. Down, set, go, Clay yelled. The ball is snapped and I run a five yard out, and Clay throws the ball to me. I sprint down the sideline for the go ahead touchdown. After we scored, Timken received our kickoff and had the ball on their forty. We held them to a fourth down, One more play and the game is ours, I yell. However, our corner blew his coverage. Touchdown Timken Trojans, said the announcer. Timken took the win, and all the spirit out the silent, shocked crowd. The loss stung horribly, but not near as bad as the news I received on Tuesday that week. I went to the doctor for an MRI on my right knee. As I sat waiting for the doctors verdict, praying it was not serious, I had butterflies in my stomach. The handle turned, I held my breath as he sat down with a concerned look, and he proceeded to ask me How are you today? Naturally I replied, Im good. Then he says, Well your knee isnt. I hope you like to swim because you will never run again. You have torn most of the cartilage off your knee. I zoned

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out. He explained to my mom the possible procedures we could try, and said, He will most likely have to get a knee replacement at the age of thirty. He gave no hope, and bluntly crushed my dreams. None of his options ended with the results I wanted. I refused to listen to or accept that kind of nonsense. I had surgery two days later, and this required eight weeks of crutches and therapy. Approximately four weeks into my recovery, sitting at the dinner table, my mom says, Travis, Ive been calling a few doctor offices, and one gave me the name of a doctor who operated on his wifes knee. Do you want to see him? Yes, of course I do, I said. I was overwhelmed with excitement at this opportunity. He had a new type of surgery that few doctors use, and the results that others were seeing from it looked promising. As I sat there waiting for the doctor to come in, the feeling was way too familiar, but when he walked in I could tell it was better. He talked to me about the process told me what to expect, and the whole time there was one question weighing on my mind. I think thats about it, he says, any questions? Nervously I ask, So what are my chances of playing football again? He smiled and said If everything goes well, and you do what youre supposed to, then I see no reason why you shouldnt be able to play. I had the surgery in mid-October and for the last game of my junior year I was able to walk on the sidelines with my team for the first time since August. The season came and went, but in order to achieve my goal my season did not end after the last game. My work was just beginning.

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I did everything I could do to get back to normal. I worked out 4 days a week, and stayed after to put in extra work. Day by day I could feel myself getting stronger and stronger. I made it through all the summer practice without a problem. Finally, it was time to play Timken. Down, set, go. The snap, the run, and the tackle; I was back. I did what they said I couldnt, shouldnt, and wouldnt do. I played the rest of the game without a problem, twenty six to fourteen, East Canton won the game. I finished the night with 90 rushing yards one touchdown, and twelve tackles. The moment that the clock hit zero, and the team celebrated, I looked back at where I started, in just a year how far I had come. Walking off the field it all became so real when I saw my mom. My mom had gone through all this with me, and is the biggest reason I was able to play again. She ran up to me, with tears in her eyes, hugged me, and said I love you, and Im so proud of you. East Canton ended with a better record than we had in a while. I ended the year with 105 tackles, 700 total yards, and 8 touchdowns. I received all-Ohio honors for safety. The season could not have been any better, and knowing the work I did to get there made it all better. I have great memories from that season, and I learned some things about myself. The easy thing would have been to accept the fact I would never run again. But I would have wondered my whole life what could have been. Much like I still wonder what could have been if I would have never got hurt. Yes, my senior year was great, but there are so many questions in my head about the year I missed. Ive taken positive things from it all, but none come close to making up for the time I lost. People always say things happen for a reason. Im still searching for the reason I got hurt, and I dont think I will ever know why. But the important thing is not

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why it happened, but that you do not let what happened define your life. You cannot let self-pity determine the outcome; you have to keep moving on with your life.