The Turnaround – Dumas, Thursday

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by Jason Strunk
Lubbock High School Head Football Coach
Follow @WestTXCoach

Lubbock HS captains head to midfield for coin toss before season opener. Photo courtesy of Abby Reed Photography

Lubbock HS captains head to midfield for coin toss before season opener.
Photo courtesy of Abby Reed Photography

Thursday – it gets on you fast. It couldn’t come any faster this week. Good grief. We needed the bitter taste Andrews High left in our mouth to go away. Thursday means it’s twenty-four hours until game day. I love Thursday’s.

Our focus this week has been how we scrimmaged well, but have failed to apply that to when it counts the most. We showed the kids film of our scrimmages and showed game film as well. They can see a huge difference in their performance. You can tell this team knows they have not played to their potential. The great thing about that is they want to fix it. They want to win. They want to do well. It’s just a matter of applying it now.

Let’s play carefree football. Let’s not think. Let’s react. Be aggressive. Play hard. At the end of the night, let the chips fall where they may. But, by all means just give me all you have. Do it for yourselves. Do it for the man next to you. Just go give the best you have. Give yourselves a chance to be successful! Be fearless!

This is the best team we have had. Yes, we are looking for win one. Rough start. But this team has what it takes to do what the 2012 team did: get to the playoffs!

My mother died in 1995. I was a senior in high school. Her funeral was on January 15, 1995. I can still remember the awful feeling I had on that gray, cold, overcast day. It was emptiness. It was fear. It was a sickening sense of loneliness. It was the worse feeling a person can ever have.

This past weekend I felt the same. It was a kick to the stomach. Our performance took me back to the day we buried my Mom. I was paralyzed. It was lonely. It was just awful. I haven’t felt that way in almost twenty years. But, I knew the feeling all too well. I never knew I would get back to that dark place I was in as an eighteen year old kid.

I love these kids. I was emotionally sick for them. They came up short. They didn’t allow themselves to be great. They let fear stand in the way of all their hard work.

Here I am all jacked up, emotionally. Then, I get with the team on Monday and all that goes away. They lift me back up. They are a great group of kids. I was so distraught over a loss that it took me back to the worse time in my life. But this team has a great way of putting things into perspective for me. They always remind me that there are more important things in life besides wins and losses. This is a special group.

That’s how long it has been since 9-11. Time has flown by. But the fear that day evoked from me will never subside. Scariest day of my life. You didn’t know what was going to happen next. I still can’t believe what happened.

All the news recently about professional athletes and the NFL really pales in comparison to what went on that day thirteen years ago. Three thousand people went to work that day and never came home. Think about that for a minute. Toughest day in American history.

I’m not sure why I am writing about this. Just don’t ever forget how terrible that day was and how far we have come. It could always be worse. Be grateful for what you have.

That is all I have for now… Let’s go get one tomorrow in Dumas!

No More Fumbles

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About the Author

Jeff Fisher
Jeff is an award-winning journalist and expert in the field of high school sports, underscored with his appearance on CNBC in 2010 to talk about the big business of high school football in America. Jeff turned to his passion for high school football into an entrepreneurial venture called High School Football America, a digital media company focused on producing original high school sports content for radio, television and the internet. Jeff is co-founder and editor-in-chief of High School Football America, which is a media partner with USA TODAY High School Sports.