The best thing about football is also the worst thing: Two teams hit the field every weekend, and only one comes away a winner. While every team spends every season pining for touchdowns, fight songs and trophies, we all know that isn't in the cards for everyone.
This is a message for those staffs.
Jason Strunk turned around Florida high school program Plant City, then left for Lubbock High School in 2011 to fulfill a Friday Night Lights-inspired dream of coaching high school ball in Texas. Lubbock has one of the worst high school traditions in Texas with, upon the time of Strunk's arrival, no winning seasons since 1998 and no playoff trips since 1975.
Now in his sixth season, Strunk is still working to turn around the Westerners' fortunes. Traditions built over 40 years simply aren't torn down overnight.
From the sounds of it, though, Strunk has turned around the culture within Lubbock's locker room. Writing for High School Football America, Strunk penned a blog post many in our audience can identify with:
I know this. We are not the most talented team on the field. We get by with effort. We play teams that are more athletic than we are, but we play harder than our opponents. We play hard and we play harder when needed.
You need to be ready to play four quarters when you line up against us. We will not quit. We will not relent. We are a bunch of fighters. You will not break us and you cannot break our attitude and mindset. We will just keep coming at you.
This team is awesome. They have bought in. We are getting by on grit and toughness. We are pushing teams to the brink because we play hard. Nobody can ever take that away from us. We are going to come after you. Eventually, we are going to flip the win-loss column.
Our kids get disrespected daily. They hear all the time how bad they are. The common line is, “you guys suck.” Imagine hearing that every day in your own hallways. It is mind-numbing.
This has been going on at LHS for 40+ years. The problem didn’t start with my current team, they weren’t even born when LHS began their struggles. But they pay for it every day. My players pay for the past 40 years of struggles. It isn’t right. It isn’t fair.
My message to them on a daily basis is life isn’t fair sometimes, but you need to keep moving along. You cannot let negativity get to you. Tune-out the noise is theme every day. We control “we.” The naysayers do not suit up for practice. They do not come in on weekends. They do not matter. The naysayers have no clue what we do. Truth be told, they couldn’t handle the rigors of a football season and the stress that comes with it. That’s why they don’t hit the field with us.
What I am telling you is this: we play hard and we don’t care what you think of us. You better show up to play when LHS is in the stadium. We aren’t going anywhere. We will fight you to the death, if need be.
This is a special group of young men. They are figuring life out through the ups-and-downs of football. They are relentless in their pursuit of progress. They want to win and they work for it.
(via HSFB America)