Thursday, November 08, 2007

Winning isn't everything

This one's for my friends who are spending this fall lamenting the lack of success of their favorite football teams. Consider the situation of Patrick Berry and his fellow seniors on the Red Boiling Springs High School squad. In four years of playing high school football, Berry's Red Boiling Springs Bulldogs never won a game.

The kids who play for Red Boiling Springs are in a tough situation. Their main obstacle is numbers. The high school's total enrollment is less than 100, making Red Boiling Springs one of the smallest schools in Tennessee playing football. The Bulldogs regularly face schools with twice their enrollment. They also have to deal with playing in one of the toughest Class 1A districts in the state, facing district rivals like Trousdale County, with six state championships to their credit and a solid tradition of success. Red Boiling Springs' season concluded last week with the team's losing streak extending to 51 games on the field. (During this streak, the school has been credited with one victory by forfeit.)

Yet in the face of all this adversity, Patrick Berry and his teammates learned lessons they will carry with them throughout their lives. They learned to stick together in the face of adversity, to believe in themselves when others don't, and that it's important to love what you do. These kids are a good antidote to the stories of dumb, lazy students we saw last week. After high school, Patrick Berry plans to enlist in the Army. When Army life gets tough, and the guys around him begin complaining, Berry figures to be able to shrug it off and work on, having already learned how tough life can be from the lessons he picked up on the gridiron.