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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Frank Sinatra - Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

To our readers...


And, a story of hope...

The young men were defeated, down and deflated. Despite their best efforts, they trailed 6-0 in a football game that had been far from pretty. Played in a driving rainstorm, with falling temperatures. Neither team had been able to do much offensively. Only once had the ball gone into the end zone, an improbable 20 yard pass to a receiver wide open because the defensive back had fallen down.

The team in the lead had the ball. Only a few minutes remained in the game. All but the die-hard fans had departed. The defense took a time out, hoping for some kind of strategy to get the ball back, to stop the opponent. The defensive coordinator looked at his muddy, worn out warriors and pleaded with them to get a stop, to hold on. He looked around, all were listening intently. Then, his eye caught that of one of his reserves. Not a very good football player, but one with heart. He motioned to the young man. Told him to go in at linebacker. Asked him to run as hard as he could through the middle of the offensive line and try to get to the powerful opposing running back and make the tackle.

The defense returned to the field. Digging in. Ready to defend. The young man with the clean jersey dashed toward the line as the ball left the center's snap and reached the quarterback's hands. The defensive tackles did their job. The line magically opened and the reserve found himself face-to-face with the advancing ball carrier. He lowered his head, He aimed for the waist. He dove forward.

Helmet meets arm. Ball pops loose. A teammate scoops it up and takes off for the endzone. He gets there untouched. Touchdown! A nervous moment later, the placekicker sends a wobbly effort barely over the crossbar. 7-6. A few mintues later the game ends. 

The young reserve who created the fumble would never play another football game. Graduating from high school, he was offered no scholarships, wasn't that great of a student to begin with, and went to work as a laborer.

His inspirational play that night, though, was caught by a school reporter with a camera. The photo was given to the coaching staff, who took it to a printer and had it enlarged to poster size. It still hangs in the home team locker room to this day and has the caption beneath it.


As you go into your New Year, when you face seemingly insurmountable obstacles, when it looks like no hope exists, please remember this story. And find your way through and create the opportunity. Never give up.



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