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2021-04-30 08:23

Again he forced himself to lift the weights. Must. Improve. Must. Do. More. Suleiman was where he could be found most often: in the weights room. He was not the strongest player and certainly not the biggest but he sure as hell was going to be the hardest working one.

He just managed to put the weights down without dropping them on himself. He was wasted now and needed a breather. It was quiet here. With it being end of the season, everyone had gone home. However for him, home was 7000 km away, in the middle eastern state of Oman. American Football was not a thing there...at all. It was not broadcast on televsion, in fact, he was pretty sure that 99% of the population were completely obvlious to the fact that the sport existed at all.

He learned about the sport when he traveled with his dad on one of his many business trips. He had seen on a TV in a hotel room in the States, he wasn't even sure which city it was. He however could clearly remember a slowmow video of the players running onto the field. They looked like demi-gods to them. Big, strong, adored by the croud: warriors! He had been hooked from that moment on. He was 15. At that moment in time there waas 0% chance that he would ever play american football professionally.

But fate had not considered the persistence and self-belief that had been nurtured into him from birth. It was meant to prepare him for eventually taking over his dad's business empire. But as can happen, fate deals you the cards, however you still have to play them yourself.

So instead of using his upbringing to prepare for a life in luxury and money, he used it to work towards his one and only passion in life: football! He had embraced the philosophy of voluntary hardship to prepare him for the road ahead. No more luxury for him. He lived in a small appartment and on very basic food. Cold showers, weight training, endurance running in the desert. This is what filled his days now.

His family had not wanted to accept his choice at first but eventually realised that there was no way to change his mind. They tolerated his choice but showed no interest in it whatsoever. He seemed to sense admiration in his dad, for his stubborness and dedication and he did provide whatever he needed.

At 18 he had gone to the States to try to get a place on a college team. He managed to get a scholarship on one of the smaller teams. It didn't matter to him. For him this was heaven on earth. He was now amongst others who loved the sport as much as he did. He learned tactics and fundamentals. He was becoming an american football player.

When he made himself eligible for the draft he had the strong believe one of the teams would take a chance on him. And it turned out to be the newest franchise: the Deventer Devils! What a perfect landing spot. A team with no history, with their story waiting to be told. And they just signed a player who was driven beyong comprehension to write that story for them.

In his first season he showed what he could really do on a football field if given the opportunity. Bordering the impossible he managed to win the Best LB of the Region Dragons award! To him it was no surprise really. This was not arrogance. This was not fueled by his privileged upbringing but by his core belief that if you wanted something enough, you would get it.

Coach Muriki understood this. He called it Dark Energy. You could channel this to keep on improving and enabling yourself to achieve your goals. He respected, trusted and admired his coach. His understanding of the game and coaching accumen where there for all to see. He was just inexperienced, but so was he. They were both very far from home, in a culture that did not understand them. Yes, the coach and him were kindred spirits and it would be them that would be the main writers of the story that would become the history of the Deventer Devils!

Suddenly he hit the bench with his fist, frustrated! All was set for the Devils to become the next powerhouse in football, and yet, it was being held back! This season it had become painfully obvious that a rift had been created. With Muriki on one side and Vennegoor on the other. Main reason was the position of QB but there were other matters as well.

But the QB...his face grimaced thinking of that loser Albert Jacobs. And to think he was drafted higher than him. He almost could not stomach it. To be fair, Jacobs was a decent human being and he almost felt sorry for thinking of him like that. But decent human beings did not win football games. Warriors did!

Jacobs was not very good to start with and definitely not better then the other QB on the roster, Jayden Meinders. And the stats showed this painfully accurate. And on top of that, Jacobs did not have this burning fire, this Dark Energy. He was a loser! With him the story they were writing would be short and not have a happy ending.

And that is why Suleiman Sulaiman was going to get on a plane to Oman after he had a shower. He wa going to do something he had not done before in his life. He was going to ask his dad for help...

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Tags: Inside Deventer Devils

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