Having lived in the Northwest most of my life I can tell you that there are games usually about this time where it gets warmer and it’s adjustment for everyone. What people outside this area don’t realize is that it actually is fairly humid up here but it just doesn’t get very hot usually. So when it does get hot you can definitely feel it. This was one of those games that affected both teams. Every time I went off the field I was seeking water and Gatorade. And also pouring water down my back. Others took to taking cloths that were dipped in cold water and ice around their necks. You basically do the best you can.
The first half offensively we had a mix of solid running and occasional mental mistakes I believe to be attributed to the heat. Defensively, we played pretty well. We held them to limited production and put the offense in good positions. We went in up 28-0 which is a decent score but it felt labored due to the heat. It was an unusually long first half which only added to the feeling.
We went into the locker room, regrouped, drank water, ate fruit, and came back out to finish. The sun came down a little bit by that point and you could tell both sides felt a tad bit better. Our defense came out on fire and ended up with 7 interceptions and a fumble recovery for the game. When you create 8 turnovers you are likely headed for a win. I love playing on this defense because we are truly one unit which is how a defense should be.
We got some of our lesser experienced players some playing time towards the end and they took advantage. They created turnovers, set blocks, and scored touchdowns which is great sign for the future. One of the best feelings as a vet is to see a rookie improve and become a player in front of your eyes. The excitement you see in their eyes when they know they just made a good play is contagious. Everyone wants to be a part of that. It reminds you about the joy of the game.
Speaking of which, in a game setting, I’m pretty focused. But there are times I can’t help but smile or laugh because I legitimately feel like a kid on Christmas Day. There are moments I feel pure joy at the fact I get to run around on the field. I also do enjoy hitting people. It’s a weird dynamic because off the field I’m pretty nice and you will see me in film constantly picking up opponents off the ground. I’ve been made fun of previously for it which I don’t mind. I believe in competition. You won’t find anyone as competitive as me in the moment. Sometimes I have an edge to me. I think you kind of have to in order to play inside linebacker. You have to have that fire. But I think I get so much joy from the fire that I can’t help but share that with other people once the moment of battle has past. Which is why you will see me jumping when there’s a great play or picking someone up. I just can’t help it. I want everyone to feel that too.
This coming week we face the Portland Shockwave who challenged us just a couple of weeks ago. We travel down to Portland for this game in another likely warm game. It will be our last regular season game and we want to finish strong going into playoffs. And if we do continue to do well, we will likely have to play games in locations that are a lot hotter so hopefully these games will help prepare us.