A Word from Mrs. W: Effort matters

Courtney Warren, Advisor

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Football season is upon us! Drums are sounding in the air, poms poms are rustling, and it’s still so hot I can barely breathe so I sure don’t know how the boys do in helmets and pads.

We recently hosted our first home game of the season with just as much excitement as you’d expect. The players talked about the other team all week in regards to what they prepared for, who they were studying, and what plays they needed to know. Their confidence was strong and steady, as if these young men could literally transform who they were as they slid the black and gold over their shoulders.

Friday night came and the air felt as if someone had placed a hot towel on your face. Perfect for a night under the lights.

The boys started strong, ready to perform and beat the team that dared step onto their field.

However, soon, that team was up by 1. Then more than one.

As junior class sponsor I assist in selling cotton candy to raise money for prom so I was only able to see bits of the game.

I tried to make my way to the fence every so often and watch the boys that normally sit in my classroom because I know they’ll ask if I saw the game on Monday.

It’s amazing how these goofy students, who complain about learning vocabulary, completely transform when they step on the field.

The game continued and we weren’t getting any closer to winning.

Something I always notice, especially as a coach’s wife who often is forced to stay the entire game despite how much we’re down by, is that when the team is doing well, people are pumped. They cheer, they scream, they line the fences in anticipation of a win.

However, when the team isn’t doing well, there is typically much less cheering. Sometimes there is even silence.

Often times, people make their exit early, whether it’s to fight the parking traffic or simply because they know how the game is going to end and they have no interest in watching a loss.

However, despite my unfortunate confidence in the fact that our team was preparing to lose this game, I couldn’t help but notice one player on the field.

He was one of the shortest ones out there but easily the fastest.

At one point, the ball is snapped and a player from the other team is breaking away. He smoothly runs down the field with four black jerseys chasing him.

Suddenly, as I watch, this smaller black jersey runs from the opposite side of the field, faster, faster still. He passes the first black jersey. He passes the second, finally, he passes the last of his teammates and reaches his hand out for this player holding the football fully expecting a touchdown.

He takes him down.

No touchdown.

I stood at the fence for a moment and watched the boys get up before turning back to my concessions job but that play stuck with me all weekend.

The game was over, they weren’t going to be able to turn things around, and yet this one player never stopped. That was the fastest I’ve ever seen another human being run in my life. He ran as hard and as fast as he possibly could despite what the clock said. Despite with the score said. And despite, I’m sure, what the other team spat from across the line of scrimmage.

When I described this awesome play at home later in the evening, I was so excited. I ended my story so eloquently with, “I mean, what even is that?”

“Effort,” was the reply I received.

Man, if there’s not some sort of life lesson in everything. That player knows the game better than most. He could see that scoreboard and clock and knew what the possible outcomes would be.

However, despite the bleachers clearing, despite the early celebrations from the other team, he ran. He ran hard and tackled harder. He tried. He put forth the effort, even when defeat was staring him down.

Sometimes, when the days feel extra long, I’ll have to try to remember that player on the field. He gave it absolutely everything he had and when he ran out of that, he gave even more.

And I thought I’d never really understand football.