During a scrimmage prior to the regular season, the worst thing that could happen as far as Nick Covey's football career was to have it abruptly if only temporarily ended.
Tearing two ligaments in his ankle, Covey has been relegated to the sidelines for games, instead of being where he had hoped to be right now. "I want to be out there." Covey said. "I want to be out there playing with my guys and getting them fired up."
The role of cheerleader is hardly a glamorous one and a job that Covey would just as soon not have, but he admittedly is doing the same things now as he would have, had he been playing the entire time. "I'm out there with them every chance I get." He said. "I am the film-sessions, I am out there with the weightlifting, at practice and the games. I can't just sit and watch my team. I have to be as involved as I can be."
That type of vicarious living he's been forced to have through those teammates that are yet able to play, it's been frustrating at best.
For Covey's entire career, he's gotten to see Mountain Ridge dominate anyone and everyone that lay before them, his teams not losing until this year. A year which their team is currently 1-3, something unthinkable to one that couldn't have told you much before this season of how really losing actually felt. "It's been a lot of success since my freshman year." He said. "Now, I'm just watching these guys go out there, no fire, no energy and it stinks."
"It's just crappy right now because this was my year and I was ready to go. But, if I can't be out there, I am going to be on the sidelines doing everything like I used to when I could get on the field."
That means yelling at teammates for not stepping up when he isn't around to bolster the defensive side. That means doing his best to encourage a team that is feeling it's first taste of real mediocrity in years. And yes, that means he's feeling the inner pain along with the already daunting physical pain that has taken his typical role and turned it into A-typical, but important nonetheless.
He's still a football player after all.
"Even if you aren't out there, you have to be part of the team." Nick said. "You can't just throw in the towel and that's what has bugged me the most. The team just started out the season flat, like they had no energy and that's something I wouldn't allow if I was out there."
"I'm not though and players don't listen to me yelling at them because I am on the sidelines, so it's like it doesn't matter."
"It matters to me."
It matters, because there are many things you don't need to look too hard to find inside and outside of Nick Covey. First and foremost is his heart and tenacity to put that heart into play during a game. It's a heart that has been wrenched out early on, but at least right now even as he's rehabbing hoping to get back before the year is over, he's still seeing some light in people's eyes.
"They are starting to come around I think." Nick said. "I think in this last game, the first win of the season, they actually had some energy going the entire time. They are going to need it, because we face the number two team in the state next and we have to be up for that game or it's not going to be good in the end."
Covey is indeed hoping that he can make it back in time for play once more. If it's only a couple games or even A game, he wants one more crack, one more shot at the field. He's got his fingers crossed right now, however, because considering the start, the finish is already started and for the season to be there for him, the road now has to be paved with gold. "We can't lose." Nick said of any games the rest of the year. "If we want to make post-season, that's it, we have to win out."
"I know we can do it and I am really seeing this team start to come around. I guess we'll find out where we are Friday night."
Nick stands as a very disappointed person right now. He had his best season in front of him, so many opportunities to finally show his stuff. Now, though, his stuff is only a matter of what might have been or what he could have done for the team.
Like any good teammate and especially, leader though, Nick doesn't languish or lament, because he's still fighting for a win. "I am as much of the team as I can be right now." He said. "I want to be out there, I want to be playing. But, I can't. I'm not going to sit and do nothing though. I'm getting out there and yelling my team on and yelling at them if I have to."
"Right now, it's all I can do."