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It was 29 years ago, and I remember it like it was yesterday.
I remember the exact spot of the field. We are going into the East end zone.
I can still smell that unique odor that you’ll only know if you’ve worn a helmet and shoulder pads. It’s more of the smells that to the average person is gross, but to those that know, it’s the smell of hard work and dedication.
Cisco 20 ~ Merkel 21
The excitement was building as our coach decided to go for the win instead of the tie.
“We are going for two boys. Let’s win this thing.”
I was excited as I had just scored my third touchdown of the game to bring us one play away from the victory.
I can hear the band firing up the fight song.
I know it’s all come down to me.
I can hear Coach Evatt call the play as we all gathered on the sidelines, ready to win.
“36 Belly G Keep”
Wait. WHAT did he say keep. Keep meant that they would fake the handoff to me, and Jeff, the QB, would keep the ball and go around the end.
I remember thinking. NO, give the ball, and we will win. I had run all over these guys all game, and there was no way they were going to stop me from getting in the end zone. NO CHANCE
I can still feel the deflation from not having my number called.
As we trotted from the sidelines to the line of scrimmage, I keep thinking Jeff just give me the ball. Let’s run 36 Belly G and we will win…..but you didn’t do that kind of thing in 1991. Your coach was like a god, and Coach Evatt was like a father to me. So I didn’t say a word.
Jeff approaches the center ~ the ball is hiked ~ Jeff fakes the handoff ~ I blast through the hole pretty much-untouched landing in the end zone ~ Jeff heads around the end and is tackled before he can get in the end zone.
We lost 20 to 21.
I’d give anything to have to play over again.
The story and lesson isn’t about me, and it’s damn sure not a flashback to the glory days of high school. Those days are long gone.
The lesson and the action that I take from that remembrance is WIN or LOSE always go with your best play. There is no shame in failing or falling short when you put it all on the table. When you’ve left it all on the field. That night in 1991 we didn’t do that!
Here are the 5 Power Takeaways from this episode:
- Always run your best play. Don’t try to get fancy.
- Always bet on yourself. To this day, I know if Coach had called my number on that play, the outcome would have been different. We would have won 22 to 21.
- Use your voice. Hindsight is 20/20, but if I had it all to do again, I would have looked Coach Evatt directly in the eyes and said. “Give me the ball, and we win.”
- When the game is on the line, want the ball. Demand the ball.
- Use your past as fuel for your future. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about that one play, that one yard. I use that moment to make sure I never miss success by one yard every again.
You are all one yard away for something awesome in your life.
Use the five lessons I learned the hard way to make sure you end up scoring the winning conversion in your life.
I believe in you, and I’m excited to watch you win.
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