As long as hope lives, anything is possible!
Last Friday night, fans of this year’s installment of #fightingindianfootball, witnessed a team with heart.
And, honestly, no one ever guessed that heart would be required to win this year’s district championship game.
Indeed, we entered Fort Pierce Central’s home field as huge favorites. We left as district champions!
But something special happened in between our coming in as favorites and going out as champs.
It wasn’t something every eye could see, but it was there!
Gut-Checks, Gridiron, and Gains in Life
The team experienced a small, but clearly felt, gut-check moment. How they responded to this gut-check moment, continues to tell the tale of just how far this team will go as we head into what is going to be our longest and most successful play off run since 1981!
But there is even more at stake than how far we will go in the playoffs. Last Friday night’s game may be an indication of how far in life these young men might go!
Only time will tell.
But, as one of my favorite 80/90s post-punk band sings, The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades!
If you’ve seen the score from last Friday nights game, 42 – 7, then you are – no doubt – wondering why I am claiming it was gut-check moment for this team.
But, for those of us who sat in the stands, we could feel something potentially stirring. At moments, as late as early into the 3rd quarter, we sensed that things simply weren’t going Vero’s way.
The game, which should have been out-of-reach by mid-way through the 2nd quarter, was too close for comfort, 14 – 7 Vero, going into half-time.
Our offense struggled.
Our defense, while solid, gave up some big plays here and there.
It was likely a combination of our team coming out a bit flat and Fort Pierce’s team coming out with a chip on their shoulder. It was as if they’d been awaiting this very moment for months.
They started fast and strong. Punching us right in the nose shortly after the whistle blew.
They held their own and kept testing our limits. Again, and again, and again.
In fact, had they hit a couple of the long balls (where they’re receivers were wide open), they’d have tied the game and possibly even gone ahead. If you give a team that’s playing for its life hope, then they will usually make you pay for it!
You could see it on the sidelines.
The coaches were frustrated.
The players seemed a little frazzled.
The fans were, quite honestly, a little freaked.
Practice Shapes the Heart and Leads To Pay-Off
And then it happened.
That gut-check moment I was speaking of earlier.
That moment when the coaches voices started getting through.
That moment when those long-since-past countless hours of slaving in the stifling summer heat, working on the same drills over, and over, and over again, began to pay off.
The moment when the boys on the field decided that they simply weren’t going to give-in, give-up, or go home without a District title.
And, when that moment passed, we looked up and noticed that the game was not only in control, but it was out of reach.
We’d won. In more ways than one!
The other team was defeated and our victory was well in hand!
Was it a huge gut-check moment?
But it was a gut-check moment, and we showed that we have heart.
Responding with heart and hope in this gut-check moment was vital! We will face more gut-check moments in the weeks to come. We will get hit harder, faster, and far more brutally than we did this past Friday night.
Coaching Boys to Become Men
But it’s moment like this past Friday night that will help us in those moments yet-to-come. Indeed, in those moments yet-to-come, we will recall the night we had to say enough is enough and turn on the engines to cruise to victory.
It’s more than that, though.
You see, moments like last Friday night will serve these boys well when the chips are down in life. When those gut-check moments, moments that life will inevitably bring their way, do come, it will be moments like last Friday’s that give them hope. Hope that they can work through them and it will get better!
Heart Always Keeps Hope Alive
Thankfully, Coach Jankowski and his staff are teaching these boys to have heart.
If you want to experience the heart of this team, then join us tonight for our make-up game against Dr. Krop.
Kickoff is earlier than our regular 7:00 p.m. start this evening. We will get it going tonight at 5:00 p.m.
This Friday we end our season up in Sebastian. Come on up and watch these boys.
Then, get ready.
The postseason is coming.
This is a fast-moving train heading smack dab into the O’town station!
It’s the site of this year’s State Champion. It’s a destination I believe we are on and one I think we’re going to celebrate on December 9th, 2017.
But, what do I know?
After all, I am just a father and a fan!
I do know this: It’s going to be a wild, heart-pumping ride to Orlando!
Go Indians! #verostrong
Disrupting to Renew!