Eyeshield 21: Charge of the Regulars

Chapter 1: The Pride of New England

Defense. It's all I know, and it's all I play. You go up against me, I'm not just going to hit you, I'll make sure you regret ever playing high school football, and for underestimating a girl. It's just what I do as a strong safety. My name is Marina S. Nishimura, and I play football at Cohota High School in Western Massachusetts, home of the Cohota Regulars.

I grew up in Holyoke to a Japanese dad, and a Latina mom. If you expect some sort of Hollywood story on how I got onto the team, it ain't gonna happen. I chose to sign up for the team, and my position. My parents were actually supportive of me playing football. Even my momma said to me before my first practice: 'whoever has the ball, whip his ass'

It's where it all started, and her words translated into me becoming the most feared safety in Western Mass. I'm 5'9 and 175lbs. My momma grew up as a Bills fan, and I grew up watching Denver Broncos safety Steve Atwater. When I jogged onto the field, I met the defensive captain, middle linebacker Trayvon Wright. He inspected me, and he nodded

"Something up?" I asked him

"Nah, we cool," he said, smiling,

"I just wanted to see what you got, I know good players when I see them, I think you can bring it to the team," said Trayvon. As you might have guessed, our school colors are red, white, blue, and silver. Our helmets and facemasks are silver with a logo of a saber flying a battle-worn stars and stripes like the flag is flying in the wind while in a charge.

Our helmet is the Schutt Vengeance A11. Our uniform is a metallic blue jersey with white numerals with a red bordering in the style of the University of Oregon. The sleeves and sides are white with blue sleeve numbers with a thin red border. We wear blue pants with white and silver wedges with a very thin red border that look like blades and blue socks

When I first put on the uniform in the lockers, it felt like I became Wonder Woman. I jogged out to where I met Coach Wilkins. He looked like someone that's seen everything so a female player did not bother him, "Team, listen up, this is Marina and she's going to our new strong safety," there were a few chuckles among them thinking that a girl can't hit

"Don't let them get to you," said Coach

"I'm not," I said, and joined the team

The chuckling came from the receivers: Donte Trufant and Rashad Lawson. As I jogged over to the defense. They looked at me, and shook their heads, "Hey, hey don't let 'em punk you," said one of the two cornerbacks that would be some of my best friends, "Delani Townsend and that's Rashawn Rogers, and we're happy to have you with us, big girl,"

"So they got jokes, huh? They're probably going to run the ball to block you and plant yo' ass, or they're gonna pick on you on the pass, either way, bring the pain, Marina," said Trayvon, "alright guys, stick to the 3-4 zone defense, Marina, Delani, Rashawn stay shifty and watch the offense," as we broke the huddle, and went up to the line to scrimmage.

Scanning at the offense, it was a single back and two receiver set. This play could be anything. My chinstrap was fitted tight. I tipped my facemask to the quarterback to let him know that I'm watching him, "Watch the run! Watch the run!" called out Trayvon from his middle linebacker position. Something told me the quarterback has a trick up his sleeve

"Down-set! Red-58!" called out the quarterback

"Red-58! Hut!" just then, the ball was snapped

The handoff was a fake, and he now looked to pass. I wasn't fooled, and came in on a blitz while Delani shifted to cover Rashad. I hit the quarterback in the middle of the upper chest, and belly which lifted him up, and slammed him down upper-back first into the astroturf. He still held onto the ball though. I wanted to cause a fumble. Tough guy though.

Even Coach cringed at the hit I made. He has himself a gem on defense, "Nice hit, Marina," said the quarterback, a blond-haired and brown-eyed guy that looked like he could star in a Disney Channel original movie. I gave him a hand up, and a light pat on the back of the helmet, "Kyle Reed, quarterback and now I'm your new walking tackle dummy,"

"Hey, it's cool," I replied, and jogged back to the defense to butt facemasks with the defense. They called me their 'Bad Bitch', and 'Hit-Girl'. As I would show the offense, I not only bring the lumber, but I bring the speed. A few broken up passes on the long routes, and even an interception. To any quarterback or receiver, you will fear the number '25'.

"Alright team, bring it in!" called out Coach

"So what's behind the 'S' in yah name?" asked Rashawn

"My Japanese half," I replied, jogging by him, "Sayumi"

"Oh, now that's pretty, I dig it," said Delani

I don't stick out too much from the guys on the team. With my black hair in a short Halle Berry-style pixie cut, it makes it easier to put a helmet on and it doesn't give anyone something to pull on during a game or practice. I have hints of Latina and Asian in my brown eyes, and their shape, but my tanned skin really reflects my Latina half, and I like it

"Now I just received some news from the League Office, there is to be a vote taking place in a few weeks, the League is going to vote on which team will be going to Japan to play a football season in the Kantou League," explained Coach Wilkins, "I didn't think this would happen, we get a new player on the team, and an opportunity to play overseas,"

"Until then, keep it up and get ready for the season, wherever the League decides where we'll play," said Coach, I headed to the parking lot to see my mom there to pick me up. My mom's name is Angela, and my dad is Kenji. She gave me a hug, and playful swat in the butt as we walked to the car. The school's vote would write a new chapter in my life.