1. Running out of the gate during introductions at Homewood Field at Johns Hopkins University with my team to play for the MIAA A Conference Championship, one of the nation’s toughest high school conferences, was a surreal feeling that has no mortal equivalent. If a high school state championship football game is that powerful, the College Football National Championship and the Super Bowl would be a mind-blowing experience.
2. Before the game got out of hand, as heavy underdogs, we kept a one score game against a nationally-ranked top ten team midway through the 3rd quarter. Though we aspire to be a nationally ranked team again, we were not this year. We were picked to finish second to last in the conference by the pundits. Nonetheless, we made it to the title game, played inspired football, and were twenty minutes away from the unthinkable.
3. The adversity some of our players and this program endured to get to this point made this season remarkable and inspiring.
4. Having my best friend support me in the stands was very encouraging and gave me the warm and fuzzies. Catching up with her in the stands after the game made the pain of defeat go away.
5. Cold weather football practices under the lights in November are the most fun high school football practices ever.
6. My worst day of football, and I don’t have bad days in football, is exponentially better than my best day in my non-athletic endeavors. For reference, I have had experiences outside of athletics many people would consider their greatest lifetime experiences if they had them.
7. Make no mistake. I put my heart and soul into this game year in and year out as a HS player, college player, and HS coach to win a championship ring. This game has been an indelible part of me for my entire life. Yet, whether I win a championship eventually or never will, that will not define me. I know why I step on to the gridiron everyday and for whom I truly play. <><
8. All told, despite the disappointing result on the scoreboard, it was the best day.
9. “I love you Coach,” are the four greatest words you will ever hear from your players.
10. It’s a wonderful life.
Best wishes to all my football coaching friends and colleagues across the nation at the high school, college, and NFL level who still have meaningful games remaining. I will see you all at the AFCA Convention in early January.