The Turnaround: Never give in, never give up

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

Lubbock HS head coach Jason Strunk talks with him team.  Photos courtesy of Abby Reed Photography.

Lubbock HS head coach Jason Strunk talks with him team.
Photos courtesy of Abby Reed Photography.

You know, this profession is tough. It can lead you to the pinnacle of sports greatest moments. It can also swallow you up and spit you out like you were never anything special. Gene Chizik comes to mind as I write this. He won a national championship with Auburn in 2010. He was fired by 2012. It’s is amazing how this job turns on a dime.

I write this thinking about the start we had to this season. It isn’t what we expected, but it’s where we are at. It’s emotionally hard on you. It’s physically hard on you.

You work year-round for 10 days a year (game day). 300+ days a year goes into 10 games. 10 games is 480 minutes. When you break it down like that, it seems crazy what we do to ourselves. So when things go wrong it stings you emotionally.

Imagine building your dream home for a year. You have a house warming party (football scrimmage) and everyone loves your house. It’s all the rave. Then, suddenly, a week later (week one of the football season) your house collapses. All the work into your dream house for a solid year straight and it all collapses on you in a week. How does that feel? It emotionally drains you. The sun isn’t as bright. Food doesn’t taste nearly the same. Do not think I am exaggerating. Ask any football coach this and they can relate.

Emotionally you are whipped. Physically? Yeah, a rough start to the season nails you in the teeth. Waking up on a Saturday morning after a loss is awful. I feel like I was hit by a truck. Emotionally drained and physically exhausted and aching. This job can eat you up. But it can only eat you up if you aren’t mentally strong.

Football is like life: there are ups and downs. You just need to ride the waves. Coaches are human. We hurt. We get excited. But, no matter what mood we are in, we are the rock that holds the football foundation together. 200 kids look to you every day to lead them. They hurt and ache just like you do. But, you cannot let anyone feel sorry for themselves, you included.

What I am saying is things don’t always go your way. You can never give up and you can ever give in. It is easy to quit. But quitters don’t make it far in life. Football players and coaches aren’t quitters. We will fight till the end. We will scrap. We will claw. It’s his how you need to make it through each obstacle thrown in your path.

The Westerners will be fine. We are tough. We will work. We have great support. Ride the waves. Our finest moment is yet defined. Stick around. It is coming.

I love this football team and our coaches. That’s all that really needs to be said.

Editor’s Note: To read all of Strunky’s 2014 The Turnaround blogs, click here.

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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.