Payne Golden

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Payne+Golden

My Redshirt Season

When I transferred to Donoho going into my sophomore year, I was the furthest thing from excited. I wouldn’t be able to play sports the whole year because of an AHSAA transfer rule. Because of this, I was expecting sophomore year to be one of the worst years of my life since I wouldn’t be able to do my favorite thing in the world. Little did I know that my year of ineligibility would have some of the best sports memories of my life. I wasn’t able to play, but I was allowed to practice and travel with both the football and baseball teams to all of their games and help them in any way I could, which meant that a lot of the time I was a tackling dummy in football and a bullpen catcher in baseball. During games, I would be the water boy for the football team, and I would count pitches in baseball. However, Skip didn’t give me a pitch counter, so I had to count pitches in my head. This didn’t work every time, so I ended up getting yelled at a couple times. It didn’t bother me, though, because I was just happy to be out there with the sports I loved, helping my coaches and teammates in any way possible. 

One of the best moments of this year was the first round of the state playoffs for baseball. We didn’t have the best season that year, but we still finished second in our region and qualified for the playoffs. Since we were the number two seed in our region, we had to travel to another school to play in the first round. We ended up playing against Southeastern, a school in the lovely town of Remlap, Alabama. It’s alright if you don’t know where that is, because none of us knew either. The game itself was not that memorable because we weren’t able to secure the victory even though we were really close. The best memories that day were made on the bus ride there and especially the ride home. It started with all of us getting on the big bus which was being driven by Coach Sanders. We then drove to Birmingham and ate at Milo’s, which is now considered cursed by the entire baseball team because the team ate there before a playoff game for three years in a row and lost every time. We then spent the next two hours telling jokes to each other on the bus. The ride there was a lot of fun, but the game itself was not that memorable because we lost in two very close games to Southeastern, eliminating us from the playoffs. While it had been a tough loss, we got over it pretty fast and began to start telling jokes again. While we were telling jokes in the back of the bus, Coach Sanders decided to take a back road home which went through the mountains. It might’ve been the most winding road in the state. It had very high hills and sharp turns, one notable turn being nearly 180 degrees down the mountain. One would think that twenty miles per hour would be a good speed for driving this road, especially in a bus. It felt like Coach Sanders was going sixty. Skip was scared out of his mind and was screaming the whole way. He was saying stuff like “MARK, SLOW DOWN!” or “WE ARE GOING TO DIE!” as well as some other stuff that I’m not at liberty to say. On top of that, cups of Milo’s sweet tea were rolling around the bus because Ridge and Connor left their cups on the bus before the game. This resulted in spilled tea all over the bus. If you guys are listening to this, thanks for that. Cleaning that up was a lot of fun. The only person who remained relatively unfazed was Edwin, who was watching tutorials on how to beat Wii Tanks. 

If you had told me that my sophomore year, my “Redshirt Season,”  as I like to call it, would become one of the most fun and memorable times of my life, I would’ve thought you were joking. But thanks to the football and baseball teams including me and treating me like a teammate (along with the bus ride), my redshirt season became one I would never forget.

Please click on the arrow below to hear Payne’s Senior Reading.