This past weekend, we witnessed a championship game of the highest caliber. The teams and their fans came into Shotwell Stadium with a great deal of anticipation. They were charged for a state championship football game. The emotions of the crowd surged and fell along with the momentum changes between the teams on the field; each turnover, each defensive stop, each score shifted momentum back and forth between each team and fans. One side of the stadium would sigh with disappointment while another side came alive with cheers. And this adrenaline, this emotional surge, ebbed and flowed from one side of the field to the other like a swift tidal current and only intensified as the clock wound down to the end of the game. After the game was over, I felt exhausted simply from being in the current of such a great collective sharing of emotion and excitement.

Homer asks in The Iliad, “What god drove them to fight with such a fury? ” I have found myself asking – as I believe others do – why do we love this game? Why do the young men on the field play so hard? Why do the fans get so “into it?” It is not necessary for our daily survival…………… Or is it? There is no gold or silver to plunder. There are, however, trophies to be won. Trophies are important. They are tangible; they are a testament to the fact that a team won a championship. More importantly, trophies are a signpost that points to something else that is much more important than the trophy itself. The trophy is a visible symbol of an invisible triumph that takes place in the heart of each young man, each coach, and each supporter; an invisible yet very tangible pride that births in the heart of each person involved. Therefore, what these young men are after is something much more enduring than the trophy. The trophy remains in the case after the games are finished, and we move on with our lives. The real triumph, the undefinable thing that the players and coaches are pursuing, remains in the heart for life. And that triumph is the one that anyone who has ever pursued a goal can understand; the understanding that staying the course is not easy, winning is not easy, finishing is not easy, and is only accomplished after much sacrifice, many hard hours of work, and yes, even enduring the disappointments that go hand-in-hand with the pursuit of accomplishment. This triumph is one of finishing the race well, completing what one sets out to do, and the final result is this – enduring satisfaction with what one has done. This satisfaction can be experienced by anyone who has given their all in pursuit of a goal. It is not reserved exclusively for those who win the ultimate prize.

Well done.

2011 Texas Six Man Division One Championship Game: Throckmorton 48, Borden County 36