Editor’s note: Elijah Zabludoff is a senior football player from St. John Bosco High and an aspiring journalist. Each week during the high school football season, he will be blogging about his personal experiences and also his thoughts about prep sports in general. Zabludoff is a returning starter at center for the Braves, who are ranked No. 1 in the Southland by the Los Angeles Times.
I heard the eerie "oohs" of the crowd and what seemed like thousands of shrieks. I turned back and saw our punter, R.D. Cole, kicking the ball out of the end zone. Better to take a safety than let the opponent have a touchdown.
I was stunned. Never did I think that I would sail a snap over the head of my kicker or punter. It hadn't happened in four years. But it happened in the first quarter of our game Friday against Santa Ana Mater Dei.
I was heartbroken as I ran off the field. As you would suspect, I got an earful from a couple of the coaches. It was my first bad snap, and it hurt a little more that it was in such a huge game.
I told myself over and over that “it’s only two points” and that “I’m going to make it up.” I did my best to do so, and we won, 24-2. After the bad snap, I was on target with snaps for two punts and four point-after-touchdown kicks. But still, after the game, the botched one hung over me.
The whole incident got me thinking about mistakes. What mindset sets in, how to get over it, and how to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
First, a mistake doesn’t become one unless you admit it. If you don’t admit your wrong then it is a blunder and a disregard for accountability. After an error, it feels like you just lost the game. You feel completely inconsolable and as if you let your entire team down. Getting yelled at by your coaches doesn’t help, but you completely expect that to be coming right after the fault.
You go to the sideline, keep your helmet on and don’t want to hear anything from anyone. Sometimes, this can be the worst thing because you will psych yourself out with hundreds of thoughts running through your mind.
The best way to overcome your negative thoughts is to completely forget about it. The play is done and over with and it doesn’t really matter anymore. It’s not about the mistake anymore, but about how you come back. If you let the mistake haunt you for the entire game, then you’re never going to overcome your fear. It’s going to keep happening over and over.
To get over it, you just need to forget. Having a short memory in football is cliché, but 100% accurate. Mistakes are inevitable in football, but it’s how you come back from them that develops your manhood.
After the bad snap, I took complete responsibility. I know what I did wrong and vowed that I would fix it. I apologized to my teammates and told them it would never happen again.
Responsibility and accountability are virtues that should stay with you forever.
On Friday, the St. John Bosco Braves take on the Servite Friars. Last Friday, the Braves clinched the Trinity League championship for the second year in a row. It’s an amazing feat for our team, but we have our sights set on a perfect season.
This week’s game should be exciting as we get to see a battle of two great quarterbacks in junior Travis Waller of Servite and junior Josh Rosen of St. John Bosco.
The Friars have an experienced defense and a strong offense. The Braves always look forward to playing Servite, but there will be a little more intensity because it’s the final game of league play. The Braves look to go 10-0 for the second year in a row and to keep the ball rolling heading into the playoffs.