The locker room was very musty from the stench of the sweat from the first half of the the game of the year in the Huron League. It was so quiet you could hear each and every heartbeat in the lockeroom. I could feel the goose bumps slowly crawling out of my skin, from the look on Coach Pick’s face, with his devilish smile and at once the silence was broken when he said, “Men the battle has not been won or lost yet, it’s just merely beginning. The battle is within your hearts and whether or not you have the pride and intergrity to stand up for what you believe in and fight until you can’t fight anymore!” One by one we started to stand from those wooden benches. He then yells, “Bear pride on three, One, Two, Three.” and we all yell, “Bear Pride!” Then Coach Pick says, “You have two more minutes to get yourselves ready for the best damn half of football of your lives and when this door opens you better come with bad intentions!” I remember standing and staring at that crimson red door, which felt like eternity but was only two minutes, and having tears streaming down my face because I was so fired up. I had the rage of a caged lion just waiting to be released to pounce on its next victim, and mine was every player wearing green and gold. Finally the door flies open and everyone on the team flies onto the field and the fight begins.
We ended up losing the game 28-21 after SMCC scored late in the fourth quarter and we lost again for the fourth straight year. After the game you could hear the chants of the SMCC fight song and you could hear the sniffles of the Bear Pride that was being washed away with defeat, but then there was nothing besides Coach Pickens voice say, “Men, you may have lost the battle on the field, but you did not lose the battle within your hearts. Sometimes life isn’t about winning or losing, it’s about how you react to those different situations in life. I began to see exactly what he was talking about in his speech; it really opened my eyes toward becoming a man.
I believe being human deals with your integrity. Coach Pickens has been a perfect role model to me on what it means to be human. I realized this the other day when I was leaving for college in Adrian, even though I was really worried and kind of scared about was going to happen in my future, I was able to get past all those road blocks and start my journey at Adrian College. All in all that night on Navarre Field has prepared me better than any other obstacle in my life.
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