With football season right around the corner, I can hardly wait to cheer on my teams - the Odessa Bronchos, the Glen Rose Tigers, the Texas Tech Red Raiders, and the Aggies of Texas A&M.
And this year I've added one more: Fort Worth's Diamond Hill-Jarvis Eagles.
You see, the DHJ varsity football team is in the midst of the nation's longest losing streak with 77 consecutive losses.
Five more defeats in a row and they will tie the all-time national record for consecutive losses in the history of high school football. Without doubt a record the team wants to avoid and the stigma that would naturally follow.
As the Eagles prepare for their season opener Aug. 30, I'd like to share my thoughts about their situation from someone who not only loves the game of football, but who loves young people.
This is an open letter to the DHJ team:
"Win or lose tonight, you are still winners! To go out there with the circumstances that surround you and play for your school and represent your classmates on that field, says something about you from the get-go.
Your value is not determined by whether you win or lose this first game of the year.
It is a credit to each of you, just being on the field and doing the very best you can. That's all your coaches, teammates, family, friends and fans can ask. As one gets older and these high school days fade into memory, things have a way of changing on how one looks at life.
As important as it may seem to you now, these football games will become less and less significant in the grand scheme of things.
Your true worth as a person is not determined by athletic feats of grandeur. The people around you will be more concerned about who you are as a person and what kind of character you possess.
Are you honest, dependable, loyal, unselfish? Are you a hard worker, a team player for your company and fellow workers? Do you go the extra mile and persevere when times get tough?
You can develop these quality traits right there on the football field, and this will help you prepare for the bigger battles of life coming your way.
Have fun and enjoy this time. Not everyone has the chance or the talent to play varsity football. You do! Respect your coaches. Love your teammates.
The bonds you'll form with these guys will last a lifetime. Remember, you are all in this together. Savor these moments. In victory or defeat, this time, too, shall pass. And one day, you can stand tall and say, "I was there and did my best."
Finally, thank the good Lord in Heaven, the One who made you, you had the opportunity and ability to ever play football for your school.
On August 30, there will be an extra contingent of fans in the stands at Ft. Worth's Scarborough-Handley Field, standing with and cheering on the DHJ Scarlet and Black as they take on the visitors from Dallas Conrad.
Though these fans really have no dog in the hunt, so to speak, they will be pulling for the underdogs of Diamond Hill-Jarvis.
As Americans, we just naturally like to do that.
Interested in going to the game or for more details, feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.