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  1. #1
    Atomic Punk Viking's Avatar
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    Default Frustrating High School Football Story.

    I just had to relate this story because it eats at me, especially the way they run playoff systems these days. My Nephews football team made the state playoffs, despite winning only three games all year.

    My Junior year in High School, we were returning almost all of the returning starters from the previous two years. Now those two years, we went 3-6 both seasons, but we won our last two games my sophomore year in big fashion.

    So expectations were high going into my Junior year. First game, we get stomped. Granted, we were playing a school in a higher class but we played horribly and could get no semblance of a running game going. Second game, we played more competitively, but still lost 12-8 on a last minute TD. Again, despite having one of the best RB's in the conference, our running game is lethargic.

    The following week, we discover that our starting RB has mono, which would explain his ineffectiveness in the previous games, so he is done for the season. In steps the #2 guy to take over, and as luck has it, he ends up leading the conference in rushing for the year, despite starting only seven games.

    Our next game, we played a team that was one of the favorites to challenge for a state title. They had made a deep run in the playoffs the year before and were returning almost every starter. To put it into perspective, with almost the same lineups, they defeated us the previous season, 44-6. This year was different though, and we completely destroyed them 27-12.

    We go on the rest of the season without losing another game. Most games were won by two TD's or more. I think our closest game was by another team that was highly regarded and we defeated them 24-15 on their home field.

    The frustrating part, is that the team that defeated us in the second game, 12-8, made the playoffs due to their victory over us and our season was over. With the way we played during the later part of the season (We were absolutely destroying teams) I know we were the better team, yet due to that game we lost in the second game of the season, we were not able to make the playoffs.

    Even more frustrating than that, in that 12-8 loss, I had a chance to make a difference in the game and blew it.

    We had an exchange student from Norway, that had an incredible leg. He would put his kickoffs so high up in the air, that we could almost be to the return man by the time the ball got to him. The return man bobbled the ball as he received it. Instead of going for the big hit (And you know damn well that as he's concentrating on trying to regain possession of the ball, he's probably barely aware of me bearing down on him) I see the ball being bobbled and I tried to snag the ball away from him. He got possession of it, and all I did was get a big whiff on what should have been a bone jarring tackle. I mean, I was running full speed and he was just standing there. If I had put my pads right in his chest, I doubt he would have remembered his name for a week, let alone held onto the ball. Then it would have been our ball, in good field positin, or their ball in horrible field position with very little time left in the game. He instead takes the kickoff to about midfield and they go on to score the winning TD.

    I don't know why that still bothers me, it's been almost 30 years ago. I made plenty of other plays (Hits, runs, TD's) throughout my high school career that this shouldn't matter, but this play just stands out more than my good ones.

    It just bothers me because I know that by the end of the season, we had a state championship caliber team, and didn't get the chance to prove it.
    "Viking - last to sleep, first to rise, last to leave, that's how the Nords of old rocked the house." ~ timmac in the 'Texas Linkers' thread talking about yours truly. :-)

  2. #2
    Atomic Punk
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    Quote Originally Posted by Viking View Post
    I just had to relate this story because it eats at me, especially the way they run playoff systems these days. My Nephews football team made the state playoffs, despite winning only three games all year.

    My Junior year in High School, we were returning almost all of the returning starters from the previous two years. Now those two years, we went 3-6 both seasons, but we won our last two games my sophomore year in big fashion.

    So expectations were high going into my Junior year. First game, we get stomped. Granted, we were playing a school in a higher class but we played horribly and could get no semblance of a running game going. Second game, we played more competitively, but still lost 12-8 on a last minute TD. Again, despite having one of the best RB's in the conference, our running game is lethargic.

    The following week, we discover that our starting RB has mono, which would explain his ineffectiveness in the previous games, so he is done for the season. In steps the #2 guy to take over, and as luck has it, he ends up leading the conference in rushing for the year, despite starting only seven games.

    Our next game, we played a team that was one of the favorites to challenge for a state title. They had made a deep run in the playoffs the year before and were returning almost every starter. To put it into perspective, with almost the same lineups, they defeated us the previous season, 44-6. This year was different though, and we completely destroyed them 27-12.

    We go on the rest of the season without losing another game. Most games were won by two TD's or more. I think our closest game was by another team that was highly regarded and we defeated them 24-15 on their home field.

    The frustrating part, is that the team that defeated us in the second game, 12-8, made the playoffs due to their victory over us and our season was over. With the way we played during the later part of the season (We were absolutely destroying teams) I know we were the better team, yet due to that game we lost in the second game of the season, we were not able to make the playoffs.

    Even more frustrating than that, in that 12-8 loss, I had a chance to make a difference in the game and blew it.

    We had an exchange student from Norway, that had an incredible leg. He would put his kickoffs so high up in the air, that we could almost be to the return man by the time the ball got to him. The return man bobbled the ball as he received it. Instead of going for the big hit (And you know damn well that as he's concentrating on trying to regain possession of the ball, he's probably barely aware of me bearing down on him) I see the ball being bobbled and I tried to snag the ball away from him. He got possession of it, and all I did was get a big whiff on what should have been a bone jarring tackle. I mean, I was running full speed and he was just standing there. If I had put my pads right in his chest, I doubt he would have remembered his name for a week, let alone held onto the ball. Then it would have been our ball, in good field positin, or their ball in horrible field position with very little time left in the game. He instead takes the kickoff to about midfield and they go on to score the winning TD.

    I don't know why that still bothers me, it's been almost 30 years ago. I made plenty of other plays (Hits, runs, TD's) throughout my high school career that this shouldn't matter, but this play just stands out more than my good ones.

    It just bothers me because I know that by the end of the season, we had a state championship caliber team, and didn't get the chance to prove it.
    that blows. It's crazy how some memories stick with us like that and continue to irk us!

    I played football in junior high and when high school came I went to the first couple of summer practices. After a few days the macho-we're-not-gay-but-we-do-everything-that-makes-us-seem-gay, we'll-kick-your-ass-for-having-a-ponytail, fascist, water-as-a-reward-not-as-a-basic-necessity-of-life, lifestyle grew very old very quickly. I dropped out. Football was never a passion of mine. I was never going to be a big-time player. It was something I enjoyed doing with my friends and what not but high school ball in Texas, as in many states, is a whole other world. I didn't fit into it. I went on to do all the sissy stuff like cover sports for the high school paper, theater, choir and academic decathlon.

    I still enjoy throwing the football around though. It's been forever though. I need to do something about that!

  3. #3
    Atomic Punk jrk5150's Avatar
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    12.11.17 @ 07:48 PM
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    Dude, I don't have ANY good memories of HS sports, LOL. Or college for that matter. It's ALL about the bad shit. Some of it my fault that I kick myself for, some of it just bad fortune that I still am ticked off about. Not much about football though - we sucked, and nothing I was going to do would have made us much better.

    How about taking the mound in the bottom of the 7th with a state playoff berth on the line, up 1 (HS games were only 7 innings), and four batters and four errors later, walking off the mound with a big fat L. To make it worse, my catcher and I were given the wrong score by the stat girl earlier in the game, so we both thought the game was tied going into the inning. So, when the actual tying run scored on the 4th error, we walked off, allowing the winning run to score. THAT was fucked up. It was pretty common for me and the catcher to sit going over the pitches between innings, so we usually had no idea what was going on when we were up at bat but not hitting ourselves - we relied on the statistician. Or our coach, who it turns out (didn't know then) was so coked up not sure he knew what state we were playing in.

    We had 4 games where we had to win 1 to make states, that was the first. We lost them all, including one where I had a no hitter going into the 6th but lost. We then win our last 4 to finish in 2nd place in the conference, but no playoffs - fucked up system where the brackets were determined a week and a half before the end of the season. We had a better record than half the teams that made it, but not when it mattered at the cutoff. We wouldn't have won anything, but it would have been fun to play. Plus, it wouldn't have left me with the last game of my entire athletic career being what it was.

    How about this - I was a 3 year starter in baseball, MVP as a Jr., after leaving tennis where I was an MVP as a Fr. I had one of the better (if not the best) overall multi-sport athletic careers in the history of that school, and in the last game of my entire career, I was scheduled to pitch to get my record back to .500 for the year - it was a team I'd beaten 3 times in the last two seasons, I owned them. I had a court date to beat a speeding ticket that afternoon, coach knew about it. I drive into the parking lot as they were walking down to the field, so I was perhaps 10 minutes "late" - still made batting practice. Coach comes up to me and tells me I'm not pitching after all. Which, although it sucked, was okay since the guy going needed a W to get named all West Jersey, so I was good with that. Then he tells me since he already made out the lineup before I got there (it was in pencil by the way), I was hitting NINTH (I was the clean up hitter). Last athletic event of my career, and that coked up fucker hits me NINTH instead of using the eraser, or God forbid grabbing another lineup card and writing nine names and position numbers. The back up to my position was the guy pitching, so there wasn't any issue of my bumping someone. Look, I know what I wrote seems egotistical - I get I was a big fish in a small pond. But that asswipe absolutely should have recognized what I put into that school and his program. I actually vividly remember almost saying "then erase it" when he showed me the lineup card, but I have no doubt to this day he would have, in his coke fog, kicked me off the team at that moment.

    Shit - I remember my college hoops coach telling me that in the long run, 1000 career points wouldn't be important. Came 46 points short. Likely kept/keeps me out of my college's HOF - I was well enough known around academic and leadership stuff in college where if I hit that milestone, I probably would be in (again, small pond). Important? Big picture, no. To me? YES. YES. YES. It was 100% my fault I didn't get there, and I have deep regrets to this day that I didn't get my shit together a little earlier in my career.

    Bottom line - had I known then how important it would be to me now, I would have done things differently. I always had people tell me it wouldn't be important 20 years later, so I was always looking forward. BULLSHIT. For an athlete, this shit lasts FOREVER. If I ever run into that HS baseball coach, I'll be friendly and appreciative - he did a lot for me, helped me in a lot of ways that made a huge difference for me - but I will NEVER forget that last game. I'll pretend it doesn't matter, but it does. To me.
    Last edited by jrk5150; 01.13.09 at 03:51 PM.

  4. #4
    Atomic Punk edwardv's Avatar
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    Hey Vike I played HS ball 74-76 and ill tell you I remember everything even all my JV games....Played both ways was best time in my life. Went 7-3 my senior year on varisty. We started out 5 -0 and a writer for the Baltimore Sun came to practice and I got my name in the paper with a team article,then we lost a heartbreaker to the team that eventually won the states ,was in a tropical rain storm the mud was ankle deep on a dirt field in Baltimore County. When I get down I always think of those times and it cheers me up even two a day practices.
    EVH 1979: Well, actually it's not much of a vacation, because we run everything ourselves. We design our own album cover, we have to be in the office every day to sign checks - the whole corporation revolves around us. Nothing can be done without our approval. We even have photo approval.

  5. #5
    Good Enough jeff spicoli's Avatar
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    Default Sorry guys, but this thread reminds me of...

    ^
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  6. #6
    Atomic Punk onefootoutthedoor's Avatar
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    I played football in Jr High but once I got to HS, I realized quickly that I was WAY outta my league. In the four years I was there, I believe there were no less than six players who went on to play in the NFL from my school (not to mention many many others who played at big Div 1-A colleges).
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  7. #7
    Atomic Punk edwardv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeff spicoli View Post
    Al was on my team....I did Peg before him...lol
    EVH 1979: Well, actually it's not much of a vacation, because we run everything ourselves. We design our own album cover, we have to be in the office every day to sign checks - the whole corporation revolves around us. Nothing can be done without our approval. We even have photo approval.

  8. #8
    Atomic Punk jrk5150's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeff spicoli View Post
    Heh - there is a damn fine line to where you're right.

  9. #9
    Good Enough jeff spicoli's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrk5150 View Post
    Heh - there is a damn fine line to where you're right.
    Just messing with you guys. I think most people who played organized sports have at least one instance where they can ask "what if?"

    My senior year of high school, we made the state playoffs in soccer. It was the 1st time in 10 years our school qualified. In our 2nd round game, we tied and went to a penalty kick shootout. After 2 rounds of the shootout, we were up 2-0. After 4 rounds, we were tied 2-2. They made their 5th kick, my best friend on the team missed our 5th kick. Game over.

    I was up next had my buddy made his kick.
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