The Mesquite invited Trinity Chavez, a female player on McCollum’s varsity football team, to write in her own words about her experience, teammates, healing from injuries, and what the sport means to her overall.
Freshmen year was a big change for me because I changed from volleyball to football. I’ve played volleyball since I was 4, and I knew I’d play in high school. After the season, I knew it wasn’t the same and I needed a bigger challenge. I remember always making my mom go to the football games with me, and I’d get into it.
My friend Janie mentioned that year that she was going to join football and that I should join too. I thought about it and knew it would be harder, but fun. So I told her ‘yes,’ and we both talked to the coach separately. At the time, we had a different head coach, but I still went through a process. She wasn’t able to do it, but I did. Our head coach checked my grades, my record, and also talked to my parents to make sure they were going to allow me to play.
After that, I started spring ball. I joined the football period, and would workout with the boys. A couple of them didn’t like me because it was “ their sport”, but they got over it. They realized that I was ready for the challenges.
During the summer before my sophomore year, we had practices to prepare for the new football season. One day, we were doing a practice tackle drill, and they had some of the underclassmen be the ones tackled. I was next, and I see who I have tackling me. I look to see one of the biggest players we had; one of the best too. Jesse R. came running at me, not knowing who he was hitting. Once he caught a glimpse, he slowed down, but it was too late. He came in contact with me, and my cleat stayed in the ground longer than it should have. After he had tackled me, I could not get up because I hurt my knee. He kept apologizing, and so did my defensive line coach, Coach Santiago.
After that, I was out for the entire season and had crutches the first couple months of school. I tore my ACL, MCL, meniscus, and I bruised a bone. But that wasn’t the last of my injuries.
My junior year, I sprained my foot and was out through the end of the season. And senior year, now, I had to have a steroid shot in my foot because I had bruised tissue and bones, and also had arthritic cartilage in my foot. Almost needing surgery, I thought I was done for this year. But on Tuesday, I was cleared and was so happy to hear I’d be back in the field on Monday, ready to practice.
What I didn’t know was that lifting isn’t always going to help. I was lifting this past Thursday, preparing myself for Monday, and over did it. Since I’m not built like the boys, I wanted to work out so I could be stronger and be able to withstand their hits. Since my squat max is 275lbs., I thought I’d be able to at least do 225lbs., but I was wrong. I went down on my second rep, and felt my hip pop. My trainer, Doc Lara told me I might have strained my hip flexor. I was devastated. Only three more games left and I had just gotten cleared. But we will soon find out how long I’ll be out. But no matter what, I will support my boys.
Throughout my years in football, I have gotten along with the boys. They think of me as one of them. I have gotten closer not only to them, but also my coach and trainer. Doc Lara is like my best friend. I can joke around with her and just have a blast. I’ve been in there for so long, her training room is like my second home. She has always been there for me, and so has my d-line coach. Coach Santiago is like a father to me. He makes sure I’m alright, and makes sure I understand what we are doing. When I was down, I’d get advice from him and be able to be more open with things. One time in film, I had asked if he had any daughters, because I knew he had two sons, and he said, “No, Trinity, you’re my only one.” Honestly, I am going to miss them the most after I graduate. I will visit them, for sure.
My brothers are my everything. They treat me like a sister. We’ll joke around, and just have a great time. These boys can be a lot sometimes, but I can handle them. I am always there for them. If they are hungry and I have food, I will put them first. If they need help, whether it be school related, or not, I will be there for them. My “mama bear” side can come out when they get hurt. You can see me go up to them slowly and make sure they are alright, and just talk to them so they can just “chill” and not think about it.
Being a girl in football, and straight, may be difficult sometimes. Some of them are cute, but it’s just not right to see them as anything more than a teammate. I decided myself that it wouldn’t be right to date any of the boys, because it could cause issues.
I will always love my brothers, and will never forget any one of them. I’m going to miss the sport. Maybe in the future I could join LFL, but for sure I will be going to football games after I graduate. I will be going to college to become an athletic trainer, just like Doc. She has made an impact in my life, and has made me open my eyes to realize that I love helping others and love the sport of football.
No matter what, football will forever and always be a part of me.
– Trinity Chavez