When Our Players Move Our Souls

The inspiring fruit of working daily on virtue. You think anyone present at that banquet will forget this? That is a memory that will last a lifetime.

By Bruce Scifres
Head Football Coach Indianapolis Roncalli High School
As I reflected back on our 2011 season, I was filled with a great deal of pride. As I shared with our players at the banquet, we had accomplished many great things. 
Everyone in our school community believes that we were one or two key plays away from moving on in the tournament to convincingly win a State Championship. They are probably quite justified in this thinking. 
However, at the banquet, I told them to let go of the "what ifs?" and "woulda, shoulda, coulda." I told them to focus on the great accomplishments of this team: 
- the strong bonds of friendship and loyalty this team created
- the great leadership shown by our players in our hallways and classrooms at school and in our community
- the neat community service projects this group participated in
- the awesome player-led prayers after each practice and before and after every game
- and the conscious decision these young men made to love and honor their parents by playing with such pride and passion every Friday night. 
Winning several very big games this season was merely a by-product of all the things just mentioned. 
Usually at our banquet, our parents present some very nice gifts to our senior players paid for with the proceeds from our very popular pre-game tailgating events. 
This group of seniors, however, requested that they not receive any senior gifts this year so that all proceeds might go to one of their classmates who is battling cancer. 
The pride I felt in my heart at the banquet this year was in part due to the fine football team this group had become, but far more importantly my soul was touched by the charity demonstrated by this awesome group of young men! 
Although we were a couple plays away from winning a State Championship this season, I shared with our parents that in every sense of the word, their sons proved to be real Champions in the game of life! 
I do realize that I am truly blessed to be a part of their lives. As coaches/teachers/mentors, we have an opportunity to touch the lives of our young people in a positive and powerful way. 
More times than not, however, I think it is we, the adults, who end up being most blessed in this process!
** If you'd like to hear an inspiring pre-game speech by one of the Roncalli Assistant Coaches, Chris Belch, click on the link below to watch the video. His speech is at 2:25 of the video.