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THE TEAM NEEDS YOU, YOU NEED THE TEAM

A Follow Up On The Lake O Football Suspensions.
Not Your Team, Not Your Coach. You're A Laker, So Be A Laker. via comedymoortower.com

Not Your Team, Not Your Coach. You’re A Laker, So Be A Laker. via comedymoortower.com

The knock on baby boomer parents is we coddled our kids. We sent them to ‘time out’ instead of whipping a belt through our belt loops and giving a kid five lashes.

Even if we whipped our kids, it wouldn’t have been enough.

After the beat down, send them to bed with no dinner and we’d be on the same track our parents think they raised us on.

But that’s not how it works.

We grew up in the last era of public education’s corporal punishment. Our grade school teachers had the option of giving whacks. And they did.

If a kid was too big for a teacher to handle they sent them to the principal’s office where she’d contact a male teacher to come deliver the wood.

It was a badge of honor to take the whacks like a man, a fifth grade-aged man. Do that and you made the team.

Of the ten players suspended by Lake Oswego football coach Steve Coury, one quit. Does he need a whack?

Give Enough Rope

Team building is a complicated business. Do it right and you can let out the rope. Coach Coury has been doing it right for decades. He knows when to let out the discipline rope, and when to tighten it.

When he or one of his coaches smelled the scent of roasting marijuana late one night during a team bonding camp, he waited until morning to reel in the line.

He asked the group around the lit joint to stand up. Ten guys stood and ten guys got suspended. In the Oregonian’s report, one of the ten quit the team. This is for him and anyone thinking of quitting a team.

Dear High School Team Member,

Whether you’re the star player or a scrub, the time for being on a team is short. Sure it seems long, like it’ll never end some days. You might get tired of being run over, of smelling your pads, or tired of the spot on your forehead your helmet rubs raw.

Maybe you’re tired of getting hurt, tired of icing up, tired of the hits you didn’t see coming. Do you remember the difference between being hurt and being injured? Injured can’t play, hurt can.

Time Starts Going Faster

Even on the best of teams some people feel it’s not for them and can’t wait for it to end. For others, it’s the best time of their lives. Say that as an adult among other adults and you’ll hear ‘Oh, you’re one of those,’ or, ‘I’m glad you found time to grow up.’

What they really mean is they’ve never experienced the feelings of being on a good team with good friends, guys you’ve known since grade school, guys you run through the ribbons with at the beginning of games.

You can look back from thirty, or forty, or fifty, and the years of football seem far, far, away. Old NFL players say it feels like they’ve lived two lives, during football life, and after football life. And these guys played in high school, college and the pros.

From sixty years out high school football has never been more important to this boomer blogger. Your teammates are who you hang with at every high school reunion. They are the guys you remember and the guys whose friendship matters most.

Real Trouble

Ten Lake Oswego players suspended for weed isn’t the worst thing that could have happened. Not so long ago rumors of weed would get you tossed for good, not suspended. Seeds and weed gear were once a ticket to jail.

My question to the kid at LO who quit: Why put yourself in jail by quitting? Take your suspension and come back better instead of hanging the quitter medal around your neck.

For example, my sophomore year in high school I got a shoulder injury halfway through the season. It was the end of my year. It was horrible. I wasn’t done yet, but doctor’s orders said otherwise.

I hung around practice the next week. I’d played enough varsity for my letter, so the week after I didn’t go to practice. The coach figured I’d quit the team so he didn’t give me my letter at the end of season awards ceremony.

He hung the quitter tag on me and I didn’t quit. I was injured but it didn’t matter.

By senior season my teammates and I were ready for a great year. There’s something about going 0-18 for two years that makes the last one special.

The Final Season

To be sure I was ready all season long I got my ankles taped for the first time. Because I didn’t split the tape in back, an edge dug into my heel folds on both feet and carved hunks of flesh out where skin was supposed to be. Of course it got infected and spread until my feet looked like I soaked them in a Yellowstone National Park boiling pool.

I hid the injuries, remembering sophomore year and the quitter tag. Every day was an ordeal of hiding out, taping up, and sucking up more pain than I’ve ever felt.

That was my senior year, a season of grinding agony that left scars. I started every game. If we’d had anyone better than a half-crippled nose tackle, they would have played.

I look back and see why I should have quit, and every time I do I’m glad I didn’t. No one remembers my injury or how slow I was, but they do remember we finally won games. We were winners in a tradition of losing, and the classes that came after us also learned to win.

Why Quit

That’s what sports do, kid. You learn to win the right way, lose the right way, and get ready and try again. Quitting now might seem like a good idea, like the right thing to do, but reconsider. Don’t be ‘that guy.’

Quit on your team today and it’ll be easier to quit on more things later. Quit making an effort, quit caring, quit college, quit on marriage, quit on your wife and kids. It’s out there in the future, but these are all things you’ll find it easy to quit on. People do it all the time.

You don’t have to quit. Why not show how much you’ve learned in so short a time by taking the fair, or unfair, punishment brought down by the code of conduct pledge you signed. Take it in stride and find a way to make a difference with your teammates.

If you bail, they’re no longer your teammates. They’ll be your ex-teammates and you’ll be the guy who quit, who couldn’t take it.

From here I can tell you’re no quitter. You found a way to play for one of the great coaches in the entire state. Help him make a difference by abiding by his rules. You’re an elite athlete son, why not act like one. You’ve got a season, however shortened, to make your mark.

Get your uniform back and take out any frustrations on your opponents. You’ll thank me later.

Jimmy Came Back In Hoosiers, You Can Come Back In LO. via austinacre.net

Jimmy Came Back In Hoosiers, You Can Come Back In LO. via austinacre.net

 

About David Gillaspie

Comments

  1. You are an absolute idiot you remind me of that guy from dazed and confused that gives randal Floyd a bunch of shit for quitting the team going on and on with the these are the best years of our lives bullshit.props to the kid who quit, some 50 something fuck wit shouldn’t tell you how to live you life.

    • David Gillaspie says:

      Hey Johnny,

      Thanks for coming in. BoomerPDX welcomes comments pro and con. I like your reference to Dazed and Confused. Too bad it’s an Austin, Texas reference and not a Lake Oswego connection. Props to you for taking time to write something.

      If you’re as smart as you sound then you know a kid would never listen to some 50 something fuck wit tell them how to live. To re-cap the post you commented on: Lake Oswego football suspended 10 players for smoking weed on a team outing. One of the players’ dad got jacked up and his kid didn’t return for the rest of the season. My take was he ought to get back on the field with his teammates.

      Johnny, does that sound about right? Now about the best years of our lives stuff. I’m a 60 year old fuck wit and I’m still waiting for the best years of my life. You want to know what they’ll be? It’s when my two ass kicking sons have kids of their own and I start looking less like the fuck wit I am today. Do you understand what I’m telling you?

      Sports isn’t so much a season as a way of life, even if you’re not very good at the sports you like the best. Sports give you perspective not found anywhere else. Imagine yourself at a college kegger and some fuck wit thinks it would be funny to choke you out by wrapping an arm around your neck from behind and tightening up. What would you do, Johnny? Tap out?

      Or would you grip his elbow and roll him to the floor in front of everyone, tighten down, and scream in his face, “HOW DO YOU LIKE IT NOW!”

      It’s all fun and games until it isn’t, and that’s where you’ll find the line between gamers and quitters. Now maybe the kid who quit deserves props for quitting and will be better for it.

      Here’s another slice of real life, Johnny: A Tigard kid had football star written all over him. Big, fast, and a nasty attitude on the field. Good guy off the field. Then his dad died in a car accident, a flip your car going 100 mph on the Banfield sort of accident. It tore the kid up. He never made the adjustment, dropped out of sports, got real skinny. You know about real skinny real fast, right Johnny? You’re no fuck wit, you know the signs.

      It was tough seeing the kid hang around the 7-11 parking lot with guys who never had his opportunities. Maybe he changed, or maybe he got even skinnier and moved away. If I was a normal idiot instead of an absolute idiot I’d probably know this.

      Here’s the take away, Johnny: BoomerPDX is a serious blog with higher standards than your average fanboy page. Instead of leaving comments on the spur of the moment, take time to come correct. It’s a writing thing, Johnny. Use correct punctuation and spelling and capitalization. You know, the stuff you learn in third grade. Now, I’m not the fuck wit telling you how to live your life, but I am telling you to sharpen the hell up and join boomerpdx.com. I like your spirit and you stood up for someone. That counts for something around here.

      Welcome aboard Johnny from your favorite absolute idiot fuck wit,

      DG

  2. Dissapointed LHS Alum says:

    I know I am commenting a couple years late, oh well. I had the privelage to attend the “other” HS in Lake Oswego where I earned a varsity letter in Football for all four years. Unfortunately I had a new coach EVERY season as well as multiple surgeries every year. Compared to LO, LHS is a Junior HS. It only rubs it in more that they have kids who (“can”) quit when it is convenient for them. My sophomore year at LHS, a player “couldn’t” quit. We couldn’t quit because if one player were to, we wouldn’t have enough bodies to have a program. Good for Coach C to stick to his word, even after all these years of brown nosing and (attempts of) whistle blowing on the overlooked, other HS about a mile away.

    • David Gillaspie says:

      Thanks for taking time to comment, Dissapointed. And it’s a great comment, too.

      Just when you think you’re the only one with feelings, you find more, and suddenly you realize what the underdogs of the world wake up to every day.

      Man, you had hard high school seasons. It’s only worth it if it’s worth it to you, though. You’re comment made me re-read the post. I seemed to go on just a little bit.

      You’ve heard about those moments that define who you are? Coach C had one. But I’d like to think he’s been practicing all along.

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