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Junior DE Morgan Abdelnour provides perspective from sidelines (Patent Trader)

Posted Friday, November 18, 2005 by Tony DeMatteo

Player's diary: Abdelnour: Injury provides a different perspective

(Original publication: November 17, 2005)

When I first stepped onto the Horace Greeley football field and saw my teammates doing the warmups, I didn't know what to do. I was lost a bit before the game, wandering around the field looking for something to do.

It was the day after an orthopedist told me that I suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament and that I would not be able to participate in any athletic events for seven months. That statement virtually ended my junior football and track seasons.

The day before the game had to have to have been one of the worst days of my life. After getting that initial diagnosis, I went to two other doctors to get their opinion. They both told me that they had no reason to believe that my ACL had been ruptured. Needless to say I am still out about eight weeks with a second-degree sprained knee.

But on the sidelines for the games after my injury, I was able to take in what I couldn't as a player. I noticed the fans (good and bad), the perspective of the game at my view, and that I took playing football for granted.

I was able to see the game as virtually a half player, half fan. I was able to see how the game of football was run without having to worry what the rotation on defense is. Like Coach (Tony) DeMatteo always says, "Life is short. Play hard."

Being on the sidelines, I could see the fan interaction in the game. I saw them rowdy, cheerful, and full of school pride. I was also able to see the fans who thought they spent endless hours watching film.

There also are people who think they are football geniuses after watching a few games of "Monday Night Football" with pals. I don't see how some fans can scream out plays and yell at the referees just because they watch football on television.

I have to say it was fun at the Fox Lane vs. Somers (the Tuskers won 40-13) game to see both sides of fans get so pumped for the game and how much spirit both teams and fans had during the contest.

Going back to how some fans are self-proclaimed geniuses after watching a few games from the bleachers is that no one outside the football family realizes the sacrifices that go into a season. The coaches and players at each school give up a lot to learn some valuable life lessons.

It is amazing how hard every member of the family works in order to have a successful season. From the players who show up in the spring for 7-on-7 games until the last game of the season in November, to the coaches who start the next season shortly after the current season ends and watch an uncountable amount of hours of film. To the parents who pick up their sons and daughters, raise money for the booster club, support the team at games, and help out at the dinners.

Everyone does their part and shares the same reward.

Even though a team might go 2-8 and the kids walk out of that season thinking they have not won much, in reality, whenever you put in a lot of time into something, there are always rewards that go with it.

Coaches teach their players valuable life lessons that players will remember the rest of their lives.

I think I am speaking for every player on the Somers football team when I say that we had a lot of fun. Sure we had some bad breaks, but so does everyone and we just had to move on.

Our players played with the most heart in the Greeley, Harrison and Nyack games. (Somers lost 14-12 to Greeley in the league championship game on Oct. 15, 21-6 to Harrison in the Class A sectional semifinals on Nov. 1, and 19-16 to Nyack in the Tony DeMatteo Premier Class A Bowl on Nov. 10).

We didn't give up in any of those games.

One thing that was ingrained in my mind was the way our backs ran the ball in the second half of the Nyack game — breaking tackles, refusing to go down, and finishing runs.

Our team isn't just a team, but more like a bunch of brothers who experienced both triumph and defeat hand-in-hand.

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