In the summer of 2011, I participated in my first practice ever as a Columbus Explorer. There were about 120 kids who showed up on Day 1, and by Day 2 it seemed as if half of our freshman team had called it quits.
Four years later on Dec. 12, 2014, I, along with 40 other seniors took part in the last practice of our high school football careers.
Playing football is demanding — especially at Columbus. It is instilled into our brains from Day 1 that we need to be the hardest working team and smartest team out there in order to win.
Whether it is reporting for a 6:30 a.m. lift, practicing in the brutal Miami heat, or watching countless hours of film, we need to put the time in. Although we work, football is not a job to me. Breaking down film and committing myself to a team is incredible. I speak to my good friend, Alejandro Levy, just about every day on how we impact members of the team on a day-to-day basis. There is no other sport like football. We rely on everybody in order to succeed.
That’s the beauty of this team this year. We are by no means the biggest or strongest team out there, but we act like it. We sincerely believe that we are better than any guy that is lined up head up on us. All it takes in life is effort and heart. I’m sure any one of our players this season can attest to that.
I can sit here and tell you that the road to a state championship has been all fine and dandy, but in reality it has not been. And nobody ever said it was easy. Every team is going to face adversity — that is life. But how have we Explorers handled adversity? We roll with the punches.
Last season hurt, and it hurt badly. We started the season off 1-4 and eventually got knocked out of the playoffs in the second round. It was sickening and embarrassing. It just was not the Explorer way. Explorers find a way to get the job done and we just could not seem to find a way to do it.
I feel like the best way that we seniors coped with last season was by pretty much never discussing it again. What happened, happened. Let’s roll with the punches and put that behind us. Positive vibes have pulled this 2014 team together. And winning does that.
But who really hates winning?
This year we made history. We were the first Columbus team in over three decades to reach the state championship. We also set the all-time record for most games won in a single season at Columbus. But I’m being completely honest with you here — that was not what this season was about. Our goal was to win a state title and earn a ring. We just came up 7 points short.
I’ll be the first one to tell you that losing isn’t in me; I don’t think anybody likes to lose. But I am absolutely positive that a whole lot of good came out of this season. When we talk about Christopher Columbus High School, the first thing that comes to mind is “brotherhood.” If there’s one word that perfectly describes what this team is about, it’s “brotherhood.” You win with your brother and you lose with your brother. We have a lot to be proud about as human beings on our run at a state championship.
I’d like to leave this question to the underclassmen. Every team has its own identity, what is yours going to be?
Expect to win!
Originally published by CCNNLive.com