Nick Delango and I became friends through the game of football. During my junior year of high school I wanted to join the football team and so in the springtime I went to the practices and workouts in order to become more accustomed to the game and playbook. Back then the Dover High School playbook was not what it is now. That year it contained somewhere in the ballpark of 75 plays, a bit too many if you ask me. My senior year it only contained about 13 plays, probably due to the coaching change that occured in the offseason. Anyway, I played wide receiver and thus in practice was coupled with the other guys at my position. The captain and longtime starter in our squad was Nick, who was in his senior year.
I was new to the team and learning the plays as practices went on, but Nick already knew them all so it was just repitition for him. I don’t know if he noticed I was having difficulties or was just being kind, but he sort of took me under his wing that year. Through him I learned more about the game of football both academically and practically. He showed me how to line up properly, what each play meant and how to run the routes that came with that play, and that missing a catch wasn’t time to be upset with yourself. Through his tutelage, I became more accustomed to the game, even though I chose not to play that year, leaving the team shortly before the season began.
I would return to the team however in my senior year but this time I was most dedicated. I wanted to play this year all the way through, and made it a habit to make it to as many workouts as I could over the summer as well as participate in pickup games to better my skills. Nick had graduated by this time so his knowledge was no longer available for me to tap. I did, however, contact him on my own, asking him to help me with my workouts. He accepted, once again showing me his unselfishness and willingness to help me get better at the position he had mastered. I was forced to leave the team that year after making it through all of doubles. I came down with a weird sore throat that caused my throat to close tightly so I could only drink fluids for about 2 or 3 days. During my time away, the team had gone to camp and scrimmages and I determined that any chance I had of proving myself was gone after missing those things. Even though I did not show the results of Nick’s aid on the field, I took them to heart and made it a habit to learn and mimic them. For his work and devotion, I am thankful.