By Allison Paxson
Tyler Lee High School

Not knowing is 9 times out of 10 our greatest fear. Is everything we are all pushing for really worth it? Are our failures driving our success, or is it the other way around? What exactly is the future holding for us, and do we even have the fair chance to make it our own? At Tyler Lee, one of our position coaches describes fear as inevitable, yet “the only play that really matters is the next one”. What happened before that was horrific and creates a deep fear inside of you that gets in the way of everything possible; just because of the slight chance that maybe, just maybe, that same occurrence could rear its head into your life again. Fear itself is the overall enemy, but not knowing can paralyze you from reaching what you deem impossible. Returning to “The Rose for only the second home game of the year; the Red Raiders returned to district play after being defeated by Mesquite Horn to compete against the undefeated North Mesquite Stallions. On Friday night, Tyler Lee lost for the first time at home this season after almost rallying back to beat the Stallions with a score of 31-22.

I bring up fear not because I feel that my team was afraid on Friday, but to bring up the fact that fear is one hundred percent real, a complete option, and increased factor in a deficit. Towards the beginning of the game, our plays were not working; there is no argument about that. 4 and out was not uncommon that night, and the defense worked their hardest to prevent scoring. Something just was not clicking. The Raiders came alive in the second half and put points on the board, and almost catching back up with North Mesquite. In my personal opinion, both raw fear and the fear of not knowing played integral rolls in the ball game. Sometimes you feel that you can just not change the game no matter what. In the popular Texas High School Football movie, Friday Night Lights; Quarterback Mike Winchell describes it as “that feeling when something is hanging over you, you just know you are going to lose.” I believe that the idea of that statement may have had a large part in the game. Maybe it was losing the previous week, or being frightened that the same mistakes would happen again.

The best words from the game on Friday are “major injury free”. I can never truly express how happy that makes me. Knowing that there are boys who will be able to practice and play for another week without having their season ended is like winning the lottery. I say this often, but seeing someone receive an injury that takes them out for even a week is something that you wish on no one. Let me remind everyone about CLEAN HITS for a moment; PLEASE remember no cutting and no intentionally hitting someone in the head. Those two factors are the leading contributors of injury in every league whether it is your high school division, the NCAA, or the NFL. Play smart and play safe!

Heart, hustle, and soul. Gatorade defines those three words in this way; “a champion needs heart. It’s what pushes you to do what others believe to be impossible. Hustle. It’s what makes you go harder than anyone trying to compete. Soul. It’s the connection to the game that nothing and no one can break.” Those three words are quite possibly the most valuable elements in the game of football, and also the rarest to find in any one player, let alone two.

Tyler Lee is lucky to possess two players with those three elements; 2014 offensive lineman, Ryan Rendon, and 2014 offensive lineman, William Hults. “O-Line” is considered by few to be the glamorous position of football and never get the credit, but I respect them the most. Something about protecting a quarterback like their own brother just gets to you, but these two boys impress me the most weekly and take that thought to the extreme. Both of these boys excel on the field and on the bench in between series. I say that only because these two young men are the example of a team mate, a player, and a leader. Whenever things go wrong on the field, they are the first to accept fault, move on to the next play, and make everyone believe they are still in this. They give it all when no one else is and push themselves beyond what everyone else sees as acceptable. Limits do not exist for either William or Ryan; everything is worth going for and nothing is ever the end. These guys are the kind of young men that could be down by 50 in the fourth quarter and still encourage everyone to see that there is that one in a billion chance for a comeback. Giving less than everything they have is not an option, and what an incredible talent to be blessed with. These young men continue to impress me weekly, remind me why it’s worth it, and prove to me on a daily basis that those kinds of players exist and thrive. Both of these young men have the world waiting for them this season, and I cannot wait to see their outcome.

Unfortunately, this week for Tyler Lee will be a bye week. I expect this week to be a recovery, and to come back stronger than ever for the next game. We must see that there are far better things ahead than what we leave behind, and keep pushing forward to make progression into the next step of the playoff dream. Truth is, everyone wants success. Success is a journey, not a place and must be earned. Perseverance and faith must demolish our fears and doubts. Belief must make you stronger than you thought you could be. Question your work, not your talent, and defeat the undefeated; for everything is vulnerable and will fall. Sometimes you need to be pushed down to be picked back up. The thing always happens that you really believe in; and the belief in a thing makes it happen.