Life Lessons from Sports
Thirteen years ago today, the Fairfield Union Falcons won a football game on Halloween… it wasn’t just any win; it was one for the ages. It wasn’t on the scale of Game 6 of the 2011 World Series; but for a group of 17-18 year old young men, it seemed equally as big at the time.
The 43-42 victory over Hamilton Township propelled the Falcons to 8-1 on the season, a 5-0 home record, and the Falcons first league championship in 10 years. Equally as important was “how” we won… Hamilton Township scored a go ahead touchdown in the final minute, giving them a 42-35 lead. Trailing by 7, on our own 18 yard line and only 32 seconds remaining – to an outsider, it may have seemed hopeless; however, to myself and the 10 other guys in the huddle… we knew we were going to win. There was no doubt, the outcome had already been determined in our minds, we just had to connect the dots.
An incomplete pass, a 53 yard tight end screen, a 25 yard tailback delay pass and a 4 yard touchdown run as time expired, followed by a two-point conversion ended up being the dots leading to our 43-42 victory!
That drive, that victory, was the culmination of 12 months of hard work from 51 teenagers and a group of coaches who would be the first mentors to many of us… 12 months of PHC (pride, heart, commitment). Coach Christian Barnett instilled a “whatever it takes” mentality in all of us, turning us onto the power of positive thinking and a strong mental attitude. 14 Seniors came together and vowed to end our high school careers as winners. We weren’t the biggest team, we weren’t the strongest team and we weren’t the fastest team… however we worked harder than everyone else. We had an intense desire to be successful and unmatched will. Despite going a combined 3-17 in our sophomore and junior seasons, and dropping our season opener – we were winners. We knew we had what it took to be champions, and we were going to do whatever it took to get there. The league title and undefeated season at home meant so much because we worked so hard for it. It was a Herculean team effort. We had built a positive team and family spirit and believed anything was possible working together.
Not only was that season and our championship some of my fondest memories – the principals and lessons I learned are core values that have led to success in every step of my career and our own business.
Many of our Core Values at HSL were derived from that season in 1998; inspired by Coach Barnett, Coach Philabaum and the rest of the staff and teammates.
To my first mentors – Coach Barnett & Philabaum – thank you for the inspiration and leadership!
To my 51 teammates and 14 classmates – thank you all for the great memories and your PHC!
Never ever give up.
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