TRAVERSE CITY -- Dreams will become reality Saturday for the Traverse City Wolves.
For the franchise, years of organizing and planning will come to fruition as the team plays in its first game.
And for the players, the dream of playing football one more time will be realized as the Wolves travel to Ypsilanti for the first North American Football League game in franchise history.
"It's going to be amazing," TC West alum and defensive captain Tyler Alpers said. "I don't know. It's going to be surreal. I thought I was done, maybe I'd get into coaching. But getting out there one more time and hitting somebody, it's going to be great."
Alpers played college football at Albion College before graduating in 2003. His six-year absence from the game isn't as long as others. Quarterback Will Moran hasn't played since graduating from Onaway in 1999.
"It's phenomenal to be back in the game," Moran said. "Players look back after high school or college and think to themselves, 'I would do anything to play again.' Here we are with a second chance. I'm very excited.
"It's going to be a little challenging to soak everything back in, knowing that 10 years ago I thought would be the last time I would ever play football again. It's like a breath of fresh air trying to get back on the field right now."
Others have been around the game more recently. Will Conklin, a 2008 TC West grad, played last fall at DeAnza College in California.
"I went out to California and played junior college for a year," said Conklin, a receiver on the team. "I got hurt out there, so here I am back."
Whether their absence from the game has been long or short, the Wolves will return to the game Saturday.