Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Championship Caliber Performances

(Note: I wrote the below paper for my school newspaper. It being my final week of High School, I thought it was a fitting tribute to the trials and tribulations we go through. Enjoy!)

The date is December 31st, 1967, and it is really cold. It is -20 degrees Fahrenheit in Green Bay, Wisconsin, -48 with the wind chill, and the Packers and Cowboys are locked in one of the most epic showdowns in NFL history. It’s so cold that the referee’s whistle froze to his mouth on the first play, bloodying his lip and forcing him to shout out commands with no whistle the rest of the game. It’s so cold that an elderly fan died of exposure at halftime. It’s so cold that they had to cancel the band’s performance at halftime. But the Packers don’t mind; on Vince Lombardi’s orders, they took the field in short sleeves with no gloves to intimidate their warm-climate opponents. The infamous “frozen tundra” of Lambeau is hard as concrete, and every player on the field has cuts all over his body from meeting it. Hall of Fame QB Bart Starr’s Packers are down 17-14. They have the ball on Cowboys 1 yard line, with 16 seconds left and no timeouts remaining. Although a field goal would tie the game, Lombardi wants to send the fans home before conditions worsen with nightfall, and orders his team to go for it. As guard Jerry Kramer cleared the way for a handoff, Starr decides instead to take it himself and scores the winning touchdown, sending the Packers to an unprecedented third consecutive NFL Championship.
            The date is February 12th, 2010, and it is really cold. There has been over four feet of snow in West Chester over the past week, and you are trudging through all of it to get to school. Your high school forces you to park a half mile away each morning so that they may “preserve nature” by paving over a hill instead of paving over a marsh. But you’ll be darned if that makes you late to class. You heroically trek through the blustering winds and frigid air, fighting through frostbite, oversized boots, and the occasional mountain lion to make it to homeroom on time.
            The date is October 19th, 2004, and Curt Schilling doesn’t feel like he can perform. The tendon sheath on his right ankle was torn a few weeks prior, and he hasn’t been able to pitch effectively since. But his Red Sox are down three games to two in the ALCS against their hated rivals, the New York Yankees, and they need Schilling to carry his team. After undergoing repeated medical procedures to stabilize the ankle, Schilling tears open the stitches while pitching, soaking his sock in blood--but still goes on to pitch seven innings of one run ball to earn the win. His Red Sox would win the next game, becoming the first team in MLB history to overcome a three game deficit in the playoffs, and later go on to win their first World Series in 86 years.
            The date is October 19th, 2010, and you don’t feel like you can perform. Autumn has brought with it the dreaded fall allergy season, and you have been hit hard. Sneezing, coughing, phlegm spewing everywhere: you’re not a pretty site. It’s also quarterly season, and you have important projects and tests pouring in from every subject. Not to mention all that crap you have to find time for after school today. You’re overwhelmed, stressed, cold, sick, hungry, fatigued, physically and mentally worn down, and you still have to find a way to memorize those polyatomic ions for the quiz next period. But you’re about to show Mr. Gellner a thing or two about efficiency. So you blow your nose, hack up a loogey, and cram like your grade depended on it (because it does). And you will ace that chem quiz, because you put the “stud” in student, the “class” in classroom, and the “pro” in procrastination. That’s why they pay you the big bucks…
            Truth is, high school can be pretty challenging, yet students find ways to perform in crunch time every day. So here’s to you, student body. Rustin should be proud to have you grace its Halls of Fame.

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