Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Life-long Lessons of Team

Let me throw a few words at you. (P.S.- They're not mine...)

Unbeaten... gritty... solid... smart... hard-nosed... dedicated... aggressive... unheralded... tough... Herculean... stellar... clutch... game-changing... talented... electric... swift... sportsmanship... poise... camaraderie... commitment... and, MIRACULOUS.

These are all words that have been used by the Sun-Chronicle's Mark Farinella in articles, columns, and blog postings during the last six weeks to describe the actions and characteristics of the 2010 edition of the Mansfield High School football team. Mark is a talented guy (and a proud MHS alum) who I consider to be a friend to our school community. Most importantly, he has aptly captured the incredible run of this team which culminated in last Saturday's 29-26 Division II Super Bowl victory over Reading. And what a run it has been!

Over the course of this season I have heard more than once that this Hornet squad was not the biggest- and maybe not the most naturally gifted. However, any shortcomings were always made up with their hard work, heart, and character. Granted, there have been some big time performances by some prime time players on this team... but different students have stepped up at key moments in critical games. You could see this squad's intelligence and confidence build as the season progressed, particularly after that critical North Attleboro game. They had the character to set goals, persevere through practice, and as the motto has been for years, "never surrender"! And that is the very definition of what team is all about, as the whole became greater than the sum of the parts.

I would urge all of these fine students- particularly our seniors- to savor this championship for the coming months, for there is plenty to be proud. Well after you graduate the years will pile up and some of the memories may fade a bit, but never forget the life long lesson of the value of being part of a successful team. Never forget the careful mentoring from this great coaching staff. Never forget the attention to detail that you put into your practices and game preparations. Never forget how you pushed but also supported one another. Never forget the lessons of true sportsmanship that you've learned both on and off the field.

I truly hope you can apply it to other aspects of your lives well after MHS... and there too you will be champions.