When a 5 year old first starts playing soccer (yes, I realize it’s a bit out of character to mention ‘soccer’ in a high school football video), the player sometimes possesses this odd belief that their leg holds the power to kick the ball all the way across the field, like a laser, and into the goal. There is the idea that all it takes is that one ‘thunderous shot’ to wow everyone, including themselves. And when my kids and I were in Taekwondo, it was common to witness the early, young student, believing there was enough power in their punch that one mere strike would knock an opponent down, if not out.
When we hit this point of the season, there may remain the belief that one early strike could be the game changer or winner. However, it is the disciplined team that holds onto its coaches words from the brutal heat in mid-August, when the players basically went to practice, EXPECTING to feel a bit (or more than a bit) sick after all was said and done. It is the well-conditioned team that knows an early streak, a quick score, or a trick play may not hold up as well in the depths of the 4th quarter. It is the confident team that continues to ‘play its game’ when things don’t always go its way. It is this type of team that typically comes out on top. Last Friday, at Lapel, we witnessed, past the steam of our own breath, an Eastbrook Panther team that, as Coach Adamson said on Thursday night, has been battle tested, has been to this place before. We saw a team as willing to play in the 20 degree November evening as they were to work out, pulling sleds in the 90 degree August sun. We saw a team that was one unit – one team – with one mission, led by a single-minded coaching staff.
So here we are again, Semi-State. That big hurdle that separates programs, and categorizes teams from being ‘a flash in the pan’ to ‘a perennial contender.’ And this Friday, two solid programs, two ‘perennial contenders’ meet at Eastbrook to determine who gets to take that honored trip to Lucas Oil Stadium. Fans, this is the LAST time this season you’ll be able to see our Panthers at home, in black. THIS is ‘Senior Night’, the final time 17 of our young men will walk onto the field they know and love better than most. This is the time to come together as a community of Eastbrook supporters, armed with loud voices and louder cowbells and let any opponent understand why Eastbrook field is one of the toughest places to play in this state. Let’s cheer these guys on to victory, to another State Final. Let’s join them as they exceed expectations!
-article by Todd Syswerda