“Give in to the aspirations”
After three consecutive victories during the beginning of their 2012 season, the Morgan County High School varsity football team is riding high on a wave of confidence. The three big wins, two against rival schools, have set the Bulldogs down a good path and shown the fans what the team can do this year.
Morgan County supporters have come out in force this year to cheer the team on, watching them push the opposing team each week into defeat.
But, if you listen closely here and there in the bleachers at the end of the game or eavesdrop a little into private conversations during weekdays, you’ll hear the same murmured opinion on the lips of a lot of Bulldog “supporters,” and it always begins:
“Yeah, but this week…”
It was said before the Greene County game. It was said before the Putnam County game. And it has been sneaking into small talk about Oconee County for weeks.
Why do we ask whether the Bulldogs are going to be able to stand up against AAA teams this year?
Why don’t we ask instead if Michael Gray can manage to get four touchdowns in a single game again this year? Or spend our time speculating about exactly how far Campbell Harrison might be able to kick the ball, if only the coaches would ask him to?
Why do we become naysayers, fair-weather fans, or just simply lose interest?
Is it better never to have loved at all?
In the early shades of fall, we find ways of protecting ourselves. Some of us will emotionally cut ourselves off from the home-team by already expecting next week’s loss while this week’s game win is fresh in the books.
Is this any way to treat our team? Or ourselves?
Give in to the aspirations and dreams of the new season, immerse yourself in the sense of community, and be swept away by the feeling that you are really a part of what is going on down there between the gridirons because you believe in the team, truly and wholly, no matter what the outcome of the game. Because that is always only one part of the story.
Don’t forget who is most important of all, the players, who sweat all week, not just on Friday nights, and put everything they’ve got into every play of every game the entire year.
Laud the boys’ names every week, give the good word about that last victory (and how you wouldn’t believe they made that last play if you hadn’t seen it with your own eyes), and shake your head when you think about that poor team that is going to be riding home dejected next week after they meet up with our team.
Find a copy of the roster that includes pictures of the players. Memorize it. And if you see one of these young men in and around Morgan County, stop and tell them that they’re doing a good job.
Because, even if they aren’t out on the field every Friday night, and even if the scoreboard isn’t lighting up in their favor, they are doing a good job.
And they are doing what they love, even if it means that, at some point, there is a loss.
Printed in the September 27, 2012 edition