The Upside Of 'Whiplash'

Summer hits. Middle school is over for good, and high school is upon us. My good friend Jason has been playing football the past couple years, and convinces me to hit up a practice. Fast forward six months later, and I'm having the best year ever. I now hang with the popular kids. I'm in good shape. I get attention from the ladies, and my grades are actually good for once in my life.

I used to be very shy. I never believed in myself, and my attitude was dreadful. Football pushed me mentally and physically to the breaking point. Have you ever been so exhausted you absolutely can't move one more step? Have you ever been so certain you were going to die that you accepted the moment as your very last? This was a common ocurrence, and for a fat kid who'd prefer to play video games and get into shenanigans all day, it was a change met with much resistance.

One coach that stuck out was Mr. Reveal. Like older Varsity coach Mr. Ayres, he didn't take any crap. If you didn't put in work, he'd not only let you know till your ear drums were sore, but drag your ass past the finish line, and then make you do it again.

Reveal wasn't as ruthless as J.K. Simmons in Whiplash, but he wasn't easy to deal with, either. He wanted his team to be the best it could possibly be, and he wasn't always going to play by the rulebook.

In life, when you get knocked down, you get right back up. I experienced this literally, enough times to make my bones hurt. At practice, it wouldn't be out of the ordinary to see me get ran down five times in a row by a guy he knew I was afraid of.

About midway through the season one day, we're running laps around a baseball field. It's towards the end, and I'm just not feeling it, lagging behind. Tired of yelling at me with no result, Reveal takes matters into his own hands. Suddenly, I'm being dragged by my football helmet. I fall down a couple times, and he keeps pulling. The team is stopped, transfixed like it's the scene of a car crash with a few chuckles coming out of 'em.

Sure. Reveal came off as an asshole, which he was. However, he cared. He saw potential in others when they didn't see it in themselves, and he pushed you so far out of your comfort zone you stumbled to get back to it. Could he have approached it differently? Sure, but then we might have grown up into a bunch of wusses. In a world of constant complainers hoping for amazing opportunities to just fall in their lap, we need more people like Mr. Reveal to bring them back down to reality.


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