I Did Do That After a Loss

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Here is a personal follow-up referencing THIS EMAIL that went out recently.

Thanks, Mike, have having the courage and humility to share this with us.

Virtue = Strength, Lou Judd 


Mike Netzel


I must admit, I didn't have this story of Bill Snyder's virtuous response to a loss on my mind when our outstanding football squad at St. Thomas High School - Houston lost in the regional final to the defending state champion, Ft. Worth Nolan Catholic yesterday.

We were undefeated at 11-0 going into the game, the best record in 75 years. We played with passion and heart and held a 14-0 lead with 1:30 left in the 3rd quarter. Everything seemed to be going our way and then Nolan Catholic responded with a TD after a fumble and then scored the tying TD on a pass interception with 2:53 left in game.

We ended up losing the game in overtime. It was a great high school football game.


The young man in the picture with me is Joseph Lowery, our star linebacker/defensive end. He will likely be the Houston area private school defensive player of the year. He played the last three weeks of the season with a bad high ankle sprain. It didn’t matter. He was the best player on the field on Saturday. He’s put his whole heart into this season. He was invested completely. This kid is a national honor society student, worked a summer job here at St. Thomas in the sweltering summer heat. Made football workouts every day over summer, without missing a day. Was the ABC-Channel 13 athlete of the week after second week of football season and will be going to play football at either Air Force, Navy or one of a number of Ivy League schools that are on him. I happened to be standing right on the sideline near the goal line when Nolan Catholic scored to win in OT. Joseph came right over to me and just broke down. The look in my face tells it all. I really felt the presence of God at that moment.

After hugging and shedding tears with many of our players, particularly our seniors, I left the stadium drained and very disappointed. Our kids gave the school and their teammates everything they had and as our head coach, Tim Fitzpatrick put it to the team after the game, it just wasn't our fate to win.

As I made the two hour drive home to Houston from central Texas in silence, I started to think about the boys and the year they had. I also began to think about how much effort Nolan Catholic and their coaches put into their own season and this playoff game. I also remembered the Bill Snyder story.


When I got home, I called their head coach Joe Prud'homme and spoke with him for about 15 minutes. I told him how proud I was of our squad, but also told him what a great job his kids and coaches did. I credited their mental toughness and resilience. He said the same about our squad. He genuinely appreciated my call. I felt better for making the call. I also felt better because I knew it was the right thing to do.

Your regular Sports Leader e-newsletters make a difference in what I do as an athletic director. They are great reminders of why we do what we do for young people and the great responsibility we have as leaders. None of my student-athletes may ever know that I made this call, but that's OK. I just hope that I can pass along a few things to each young man that I come in contact with that will help them keep the wins and the losses in the proper perspective.

Thanks for all you and Sports Leader do. Have a blessed Thanksgiving.

Mike Netzel 
Athletic Director 
St. Thomas High School - Houston