Covering the Bronco Nation.

The Rider Online | Legacy HS Student Media

Covering the Bronco Nation.

The Rider Online | Legacy HS Student Media

Covering the Bronco Nation.

The Rider Online | Legacy HS Student Media

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Swim Team Competes in Regional Meet
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Bronco Nation, Now What?

Senior Jonah Pedroza kneels in the endzone to pray before the beginning of a game. (Photo by Grace Maxwell)

August 2018, a short, fat kid showed up to seventh-grade football practice with no idea what he was getting into. He was the first one to the school in the morning, but somehow the last one on the field because he couldn’t put his cleats on (he forgot to take the tissue paper out of his left cleat). 

That year, despite not playing much, he, I developed a love for a game I had never played before, and six years later, it’s over.

No matter how prepared I thought I was for it to be over, nothing can prepare me for the silence that followed that final whistle. Everything just stops. Silence. What now? The place, the people, the sport that I’ve dedicated roughly 896 hours to since freshman year (yes, I did some math), gone. 

Out of about a million high school football players in America, only 7.3% go on to play after high school. So what comes of everyone else? Football is uniquely set apart from any other sport in two ways. First off, it’s the only true team sport. I know you can argue baseball, basketball and others, but in each of those, one player can carry the load (2007 Lebron James for example). In football, all 11 positions have to be working together, perfectly in sync, to see success. Not to mention, if you’re going to get in collisions equivalent to a car crash 60 times a game, you want to be close-knit with the guy you’re doing it with. For high school football, 93.7% of us will never put on pads again. Period. There are adult basketball leagues, recreation softball leagues and tennis courts in every town, but there is no “rec football” for anyone that stops at the high school level. Aside from the safety issue, nothing can replicate the “it” factor of high school football. The bonds with coaches and players, locker room memories, big wins and crushing losses, just to name a few. And I’ll never get to experience any of it again? That’s a crazy feeling. A feeling of being lost, with no regrets, but wishes you could go back one more time. If we never play football again, all we have are stories, memories, and pictures, but what good are those when you can’t play the game you love anymore?

“So are we going to win this week?” All year, that one question haunted me, week after week. It got to the point where there’s nothing you can say to answer that question correctly. As a player, we all knew the real odds each week, but as a competitor you never say you’re going to lose, it’s just something you don’t do. You don’t spend 12 hours a week practicing to lose.

Ending a three-year varsity career 7-23 is not what anyone wants, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. As frustrating as it was, 10 or 15 years down the road we won’t remember our record or the score of each game. We remember our brothers and the memories we made. In a culture of transfer portals and open districts, it could have been easy to leave, and honestly, we all think about it. Everyone wants to win, but what’s it worth if the guys who have been with you since day one aren’t there beside you? At the end of the day, we had to play with the cards we were dealt: adversity, change, and the toughest district in all of America.

Senior Jonah Pedroza runs in the Oct. 20 game against Lake Ridge. (Photo by Kathryn Pedroza)

As seniors process the tsunami of emotions that come when their season ends, give them time. As hard as it is to let go of something as beautiful as football, it is a harsh reality that all players must face, and the only people able to understand the gravity of the decision are those who have done it themselves. 

For the class of 2024, whether your season ended after 10 games or 16, be grateful for every second of it. As hard and repetitive as each day was, and as much as you hated it at the time, appreciate that it happened. 

For the underclassmen, don’t take anything for granted. You’re guaranteed 40 high school football games before graduation, and they will fly by before you know it. Appreciate the memories you make with your teammates, especially those older than you, and make the most of every game and practice.

For my teammates, thank you. Thank you for staying with each other through wins and losses. Seniors, no matter where our paths take us and where we each end up, nothing can separate the bond we have formed all these years. For those of us who are still here from that seventh-grade football team, congrats. My underclassman teammates, I hope we left a great legacy for you to follow. You guys made practice fun every day, and I’m incredibly proud of how far you’ve come. It’s been an honor to play beside every one of you brothers, and I’m extremely grateful for each memory and experience.

For my coaches, thank you to all my coaches for pouring into me, for making me the player and man I am today.

Although I don’t know what the future holds, I can appreciate the time I had in football. The lessons learned in football mirror lessons that correlate to life, arguably the most valuable part of high school football. 

Bronco Nation, thank you.
#53

About the Contributors
Jonah Pedroza, Sports Editor
People told Vincent Van Gough, "You can't be a great painter you only have one ear." You know what he said? "I can't hear you"
Kathryn Pedroza, Editor-In-Chief
"Kathryn with a K is so much better than Kathryn with a C"- Anne of Green Gables. Anyway, my life can be summed up in three things: showtunes, books and Jesus. I can talk forever about them if you'll let me.
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    Zoe MendezNov 30, 2023 at 8:51 pm

    beautiful jonah😇😇