Conflict within When the Going Gets Tough the Tough Get Going

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Language Arts
Reading Comprehension

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Conflict within When the Going Gets Tough the Tough Get Going

"When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going!I'm never going to make the team, I thought as I ran sprints with ten other players on a blistering hot day in late August. The uniforms, pads, and helmets added to my discomfort as I ran under the blistering sun. My father firmly believes in the benefits of team sports, but he left the choice of sport up to me. Not wanting to follow in the footsteps of my older brothers, who all play hockey, I decided to try out for the football team as an offensive lineman. I had spent the last three months diligently preparing for the tryouts by lifting weights and running. I was in decent shape, or so I thought. I was completely unprepared for the intensity of the tryouts, both physical and mental, which lasted four long hours on each of five consecutive days. Eighty players were vying for forty-five spots on the team. Of this group, twenty of us would compete for ten spots on the offensive line. Five of the eleven players on the field are the offensive linemen. An offensive lineman's primary job is to block the defensive linemen, preventing them from tackling our ball carrier. Numbers were stuck to each of our helmets, so the coaches could identify us as they evaluated us. Each morning, we began with two hours of intense drills. For offensive linemen, the drills meant a lot of blocking. We spent the first hour hitting the blocking sleds, pushing the padded practice equipment as far as we could. During the second hour, we practiced against the defensive linemen, at first individually, and then as a team of five players. At the end of each scrimmage, the "losing" players of the practice had to run sprints. These sprints--short races at full speed--were killers, especially after two hours of demanding drills in the unrelenting summer heat. Neither side wanted to lose. We eagerly anticipated each water break. The heat, humidity, and physical exertion constantly zapped our energy. Exhausted and drenched with sweat, I sometimes felt nauseated before the breaks. And then, after what seemed like just a few seconds, the whistle blew, indicating the breaks were over, and it was time for more practice. After lunch in the air-conditioned school cafeteria, we stayed indoors but went to the gym to do conditioning exercises for two hours. We spent one hour jogging around the indoor track and another hour lifting weights. At the end of each day, my legs and arms felt like rubber. When I returned home late each afternoon, I could barely eat my supper and slink into bed. I was sound asleep before my head hit the pillow. I didn't stir until morning. After four days of tryouts, I doubted my ability to make the team. I thought of quitting, but I could hear my father's mantra playing over and over in my head: "When the going gets tough, the tought get going." I groaned and got out of bed. Today was the day--the final day of tryouts. That last morning, the coaches said they would finalize their selections by the end of the day. The team roster would be posted in the hallway outside the locker room door at 4:00 p.m. The final day was a brutal one. At 4:00 p.m. sharpt, all eighty of us had showered and were packed like sardines in the narrow hallway. The scent of shampoo penetrated the air. I slowly made my way toward the list. My body was numb as I approached the list. I skimmed the team roster until I found my name! I suddenly understood how badly I would have felt if I hadn't made the team. I walked out to the car in a fog of disbelief. All those long, arduous hour of hard work had paid off! I felt so proud of my accomplishment. I couldn't wait to share the news with my father and to tell him that he was right: If you want something badly enough, you will find the strength to get it.

1) Review internal conflict by reading the cartoon.2) Vocabulary3) Read/listen to "The Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going!" and complete the activity: Complete the task rotation:

Conflict within "When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going!" very harsh or powerfulconsecutive: following each other without interruptionvying the act of competing with others to get somethingunrelenting: not giving up or stoppingarduous: very arduous