Northeast High School
My name is Donovan Saunders and I am currently a Senior at Northeast high school, located in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. This year the murder rate in Philadelphia is on course to surpass the murder rate for any other year in this city's history. Problems like systematic racism, poverty, substance dependence and unemployment plague the city that I used to be proud to represent. My goal has always been to rise above all of the negativity and to inspire my family, friends and teammates to do and want better for their lives and our community.
I am a young African American man who wants to pursue a career of my interests. I have a few career paths that I am considering and I am still somewhat undecided on which path fits me at this point in my life. I do know that furthering my education is a key step regardless of the career that I choose.
In the past, I have overcome many obstacles and challenges. During the last game of the 2020/2021 football season, my team and I faced Imhotep Charter high school. Imhotep and Northeast have been entangled in a football rivalry for many years. My job as a starting, Varsity Offensive Lineman is to always protect my Quarterback, hold the line, tackle and block. While I am in my stance with my feet tightly planted in the turf, staring eye to eye with the opposition; I started thinking about every thing that could happen or go wrong. I was scared of failure and kept wondering what could happen if I did not make a block or if I missed an assignment. My thoughts alone were filling me with fear. I was not playing my usual style of football at all! That highly recruited defensive player from the opposing team kept beating me on every play. After the game, I felt an extreme sense of loss unlike I have ever felt before. I really started to doubt my level of skill and whether or not I was good enough to play the sport of football at this level at all. The doubt felt suffocating. This was the first time in my young life that I had ever felt those type of feelings. I started to question my own sense of self and who I was.
After talking to my parents and a few of my coaches, I realized that it was never me verses that other teams player. During that entire game it was me verses me! I had gotten so caught up in the outcome of the game that I lost sight of what my actual assignment was. The assignment was to: stay focused in the moment, execute the plays that I knew and had practiced daily, and to perform to the very best of my ability. I had not done any of that during that game. That experience has shaped and changed me forever. I got back into the gym and started perfecting my craft through workouts and weight lifting. I learned to practice positive self-talk and to stay in the moment. "One play at a time" is my new mantra and every time I step on the field I repeat that to myself to remain focused.
On Saturday, November 13, 2021 I will play in the Philadelphia Public League Championship game. As I am preparing to play in the last championship game of my high school football career, I keep reminding myself that the doubt and fear that I felt in that game last season was all in my head and not real. The ultimate lesson from that game is this: if you do not win the war against the mind of the man in the mirror, you can never win any battle that you are up against in this life.
WHAT THE SCOUTS ARE SAYING
Recruit Nation - Regional Scout
DSN - Scouting Director