Well, my sophomore season is officially over.
There were some ups and downs– more of the latter than the former. We had some things go our way, and we had some things not really go our way. It was an interesting experience this year because we are battling an administrative decision that is changing the funding and nature of our program. We were expected to do as we have done without the resources to necessarily do it with. All in all, though, the season is over. I’ve spent the day really reflecting on what that means.
If this were to be a banquet of sorts, I would want to reflect on some our best moments. But guess what this isn’t? This isn’t a banquet. It’s a blog post. So, in light of that fact, here is the candid, unfiltered version of the reflection of Presbyterian College Football’s 2018 season.
There is a difference between getting beat and losing. Getting beat is instantaneous, or a small collections of instances. Without some 3 or 4 moments, you would win otherwise. When we played Hampton and Monmouth, this was the case. You take away 5-6 plays out of those games, and we win them both. But we didn’t. We got beat. Losing, however, is a process. Think about it practically. If you’re “losing” someone, they don’t vanish in a moment. It happens over time. Versus Kennesaw State (by far the most talented football team I’ve ever played against to date), we simply lost. We were behind the whole game. They manhandled us. They were just better. Plain and simple. Getting beat is okay. Losing never is. And if you can live with losing, then winning will never be within your reach. Spiritually, especially.
There is no “I” in team. You probably rolled your eyes. I get that. It’s a cliche. But the thing about cliches is they are often true (shout out to Mrs. Kamie Champion for that quote). I watched what individualism does, full force, this season. There are a lot of guys that wake up for themselves and go to bed for themselves. Those are not teammates. I have done that plenty of days. I tend to stay very self-centered a lot. But this type of conceit challenged our ability to succeed this season. A lot of people were not willing to really understand their role on the team for its duration. Football, being male-driven, is all about the “Mine” mentality. Life has become overwhelmingly about instant self-gratification. Bottom line, there are a collection of a starters and a multitude of backups. That’s the nature of the sport. If you’re a starter, do what’s asked of you. If you’re a backup, do what’s asked of you. Everyone plays a role— every single player.
Football is more than yourself. If you are only playing for yourself, football (or really anything) will cease to be worth it. There will come a day when yourself will tell you whatever you’re doing isn’t worth it. When that day comes, who you play/work/live for will be gone. Then, you are left empty. I live for Christ. I try to, at least. But I don’t play for myself. Myself wants to have more free time, and skip out on weights, and go be a normal kid sometimes. I play for my family because in my world, if everything burns down, they are what would be left standing. I play for my hometown friends, teachers, coaches, church, etc. because I owe it to them to stick it out, to represent them well, and be as successful as possible. 50% of who I am is a testament to them. I play for PC and Coach Spangler because he thought I was good enough to come here and play, so I won’t let him down. I play for my grandmother because she wanted to see me play from the moment I committed, and she pulled for me in anything from the moment I was born. She’s never seen me in a PC jersey in person. But she catches kickoff every Saturday from the Sky Box. I play for my teammates because I always wanted to be better than I am. Vicariously through them, who I love so dearly, I can be as good as I want to be. When you aren’t playing for other people, you aren’t playing. When you aren’t living for other people, well… then you aren’t living.
Christ is where your perspective should always be. It’s very easy to get bogged down in the negativity of a college sport. It’s very mentally and emotionally taxing. It’s very time-consuming. College, in and of itself, is a very God-less place. The easiest thing in the world to do is fall right into its grasp. But that will only happen if your perspective is wrong. When you can be so near Christ that the world starts to look like He sees it, those rainy days turn to sun and those bad times turn to blessings. This season, being more spiritually mature than last season, I felt a peace about me all season. I was able to really take it head on and see Christ in all things. But you won’t see Him if you aren’t chasing after Him. Chase after the Lord and watch the blessings fall— Hebrews 6:7/Colossians 3:23.
Being a team is better than being talented. We are a team full of rejects. We are undersized. We are 60% freshmen. We have people starting and playing that never even took reps last year. And you know what? It was really fun. I would have rather won more games. I’m pretty sure everyone in the universe wants to win them all. But no way I would trade this season out for a better one on the scoreboard. I made some solid memories. I grew close to some new people. I got to share the Gospel a couple times. I found a new purpose for myself through these guys. And we did this thing together. We did what we did, earned what we earned, and made what we made as a team. The locker room was better. Practice was better. Playing meant more this year. We were a team. I would take that over 11-0 and hating one another any day of the week. You call that crazy. But it’s totally true.
Bottom line, it was a good ride. The season was a general progression upward. And that’s all you can really ask for. Don’t stop to smell the roses. Pick those roses so you can smell them while you keep walking.
That’s my quick recap of what the season meant to me. That’s what my team means to me. Someone whose opinion means a lot to me once roasted me for not being a good teammate. This season, I realized what that really meant. And all I can say is let’s keep pushing. In the words of Tommy Spangler, “Let’s keep grinding.”
Never forget the Cross.
Always remember the Nails.
Never skip weights
Always run your sprints.
And Go Hose.