Archive for Thursday, November 21, 2002

Football victories reflect many contributions

November 21, 2002

Before I start this week's article, I need to correct a situation that happened in last month's column. You may remember this article because it pertained to the cost of raising a child. Well, I must admit that I read this information and used the figures given without naming the source. I apologize for this and certainly knew better. I did, however, write the rest of the column based on my personal experiences. Just for your information, the author was "unknown."

I would like to recognize all the young people in Eudora for their successes these past few months. Now, I know the first thing that comes to mind is the football team, and I will get to that later.

In case you didn't realize it, this was the inaugural year for soccer in Eudora. We may not have won as often as we wanted, but the point is, it was never about winning or losing. It was about learning and fortitude. Much can be said about heart and desire.

Our cross country team enjoyed success as well with a team that composed of younger student athletes who also never gave up. I must admit after going and watching my first-ever cross country meet here in Eudora, I admired the demands of this sport and the endurance a runner must possess to be able to compete. Watching those athletes cross the finish line, barely able to stand, certainly got my attention.

Another sport that reached a high point in Eudora athletics was the volleyball team. Did you realize our girls came closer then any other previous team, to having a 20 wins this season? There were moments of brilliance and then moments of tears, but nonetheless, it was great watching them play. There is nothing more pretty then the perfect pass, the perfect set and the thunder of a spike set together in perfect harmony.

There was one moment I had during all these seasons that made me wonder. Why do these young people put themselves through the pain of training, late nights from road trips and homework that needs to be completed? Then all of a sudden, it hit me: They do it for the love of the game, the challenge they are faced with, the fortitude of competition that drives so many of us. We learn how good we are and what talents we have. Our abilities and capabilities are defined in our successes. Self-esteem, confidence, pride and self-worth are all enhanced with our own successes.

Failure is not the option, but perhaps the drive and yes, we learn to live with failure. Our destinies are set by how we handle our failures and our successes.

Of course the most notable of all sports at this present time is the success of our football team. Going way back to the hot month of August, there were hopes and dreams of reaching a level that has never been attained before. This team has achieved this level, but there is more to the story.

On those Friday nights, thousands have come to watch the game. I agree that what happens on the field itself is truly exciting, but what is going on behind the scenes even adds more pride and excitement to the "Big Picture."

Take the band for example. Our band has attended every home game and now the playoff games. They play the music that makes your foot stomp and your hands clap. This is just one small part of the whole picture. Another part is a group of young ladies ? the cheerleaders ? who spur the crowd and its enthusiasm. They have worked long and hard this season. I would bet the task of trying to excite thousands of people can be a challenge. We also have the drill team that performs for us with routines way beyond my imagination. And, let's not forget to mention the men and women who give their time to coach or teach our young people. Coaches and directors or sponsors are the backbone of any good team, band, cheerleading or drill team. To all of you, I say "Thanks."

Then there are the behind-the-scenes activities rarely spoken of including the high school booster club that prepares great food and sells memorabilia at each home game, the 12th Man Club that sold banners and had raffles, and the grounds crew that works tirelessly before and after each home game.

But the one thing that really makes an impression is you ? the fans ? that come out and support the teams. I have observed a change in our community. It appears that our community is closer now then ever before. You can feel this excitement and sense of pride when you walk into the local shops and stores.

There may be many of you that don't understand or realize the importance or significance of this season.

I would like to take you back several years to when the excitement wasn't there. Consider this History Lesson 101.

Do you realize there was a time years ago that our football team went years without winning a game? In fact, in 1994, there were three head coaches during the season and Eudora was considered to be one of the worst teams in the state. Then in 1995, a new young coach entered the picture. Marty Kobza came to Eudora in hopes of bringing the mighty Cards and the dismal football program from the abyss. Though he didn't win many games during his tenure, he set in motion a sense of pride and dignity. He never lowered his standards and expected the best out of each and every one of his athletes. He may not be coaching now, but his ideals live on ? only now it is for the entire district.

For those of us who remember, these past few years have been greatly enjoyed, but I want to thank those athletes who, through the years, endured the toughest of times, regardless of the sport. You were the pioneers of programs destined for great things. To be successful, great sacrifices have to be made.

With all that said, as a member of the community and a parent, I want to thank all of you for supporting our schools and young people.

"We shall go forward together. The road upward is strong. There are upon our journey dark and dangerous valleys through which we have to make and fight our way. But it is sure and certain that if we persevere, and we shall persevere, we shall come through these dark and dangerous valleys into a sunlight broader and more genial and more lasting than mankind has ever known."

? Winston Churchill

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