Sports

The Lee Side: Opening night, briars and tomahawks

Friday night the Langdon-Munich Cardinals opened the home football season and if my prediction was correct, the Cards picked up their first win of the season.

Posted on 9/14/13

By Lee Coleman

I picked the Cards to win early last week for a couple of reasons. They opened the season on the road for two games and with a small roster, the toll was taken both by the low numbers and a variety of weather.

The weather was much nicer this week and their opponent Midway-Minto, only had 18 players on their roster, about the same as the Cards. A level playing field of sorts.

But most importantly, the Cards ran onto the field in front of the home crowd.

As a former player, there was nothing like playing at home, especially for the first time of the season.

Everything was fresh and new. Including the anticipation.

Everybody in town wanted to know what to expect in a new year. Sometimes they were happy, sometimes not so happy.

As a team, we all knew what to expect from each other and when the battles played out between the chalk lines, we all knew each other was all we were going to have.

That was instilled in us each and every day during the summer as we prepared for the season.

Even the guys who didn’t know their left from their right during drills understood what their roles were.

No matter the outcome, our coaches demanded nothing less than our very best on every play.

Even if you had your bell rung and could see three sets of the guy across from you.

We were taught to be good sports and always exhibit good sportsmanship. Even in the face of defeat. Really?

It took me a couple of years to grasp that concept. Simply put, as a offensive and defensive tackle, I hated to lose a battle. Hated to lose anything. Period.

You hit me, I’m going to hit you back twice as hard and see if you have Tweetie birds circling your oversized head.

One night, we played Cedar Grove and my opponent across the line was every bit of 6-foot-8 inches and nearly 300 pounds. I knew it was going to be a long night and it was.

I admit, he wore me out. I fought hard but in the end, his size left me battered and bruised. And we lost the game to boot.

When it came time for the obligatory ‘good game’ handshake line, well, I chose to pass and walked to the locker room, red-faced and sullen.

I couldn’t understand congratulating someone for just beating your head in all night.

Much to my chagrin, after practice was over on the following Monday, my coach blew a whistle at me and told me to stay on the field.

Uh-oh.

After being sternly lectured about my lack of sportsmanship following the game, I ran stadium steps and wind sprints until I had Tweetie birds circling my head.

The moral and lesson of that story that fateful Monday was this. There is a consequence for every decision you make in life. Whether it is right, wrong or indifferent.

I was wrong and sadly, I realized I let my teammates down in the wake of a battle.

Each other was all we had and I walked away when my teammates needed me to help pick them up the most.

It doesn’t matter if a team has a roster of 50 or 18, when the horn sounds, all the numbers must come together as one.

The Cards will do that this season. They will rally around each other and fight to the bitter end.

No matter the outcome of any game, that is the stuff winners are made of.

After all, each other is all they have.

Coleman is the editor of the Republican and can be reached at republicannews@countrymedia.net.