December 2002 was a memorable time for me as a professional as the Trinity Christian Academy Football team won it’s first State Championship in Tallahassee vs. American Heritage High. Tonight, 10 years later, that team returns to TCA to be honored for their accomplishment during tonights game. Winning championships takes hard work, talent, and most of all leadership. There was a group of seniors, coaches and others who provided that leadership to successfully accomplish it’s goals. The team was a compilation of the very talented and the simply solid high school football player fulfilling their roles.
I tell others that Tim Tebow was a 9th grader who played back-up quarterback and defensive end. His brother Robby was a senior as well as Brett & Bobby Bowers (Brett attended Oklahoma), David Atlee, Bernie Hurley, Lamar Lewis (who attended FSU & Ga. Southern) and many others. One of the most encouraging things for me is to have been a small part of their lives as theuir Athletic Trainer and to see them come back over the years just to say hello and thank you. Championships bring a bond, a sense of accomplishment and a good pride.
Sadly, among that group two of the coaches have since passed away, Coach George Davis had a heart attack during the first playoff game at PK Younge and died on the field. His son also coached and two grandsons played on that team. I believe that event helped bring the team even closer. Danny Andrews, long time line coach developed Pancreatic Cancer several years later, worked through the season and passed away the following year. A third coach, Ryan Keith, now head football coach at Eagles View battles ALS with faith & courage. Championships bring fleeting rewards but life provides its ongoing challenging lessons and struggles. What we can accomplish often helps prepare us for whats ahead.
Memories are to be made and remind us of different times in our lives. They help to shape us, often define us, but challenge us to move forward to more lasting things. It will be a special time to be with these young men tonight and to see how they have grown and matured, married, built families and to just say hello again. Football teams form a special bond and it’s good to reflect on whatever times, relationships and lessons we have learned & shared.