Look On The Bright Side

On September 11, 2010 Wendy and I took our six-year old grandsons Britton and Braden to a high school football game. Our team hails from Lake Travis High School, a school filled with a winning sports tradition. The football team set the Texas state record for the most state championships in a row with five [2007 – 2011]. Going into the game we attended, the team was on a record setting win streak of 48 games in a row. They were ranked number 1 in the state and very highly ranked nationally. However, that night their star quarterback, Michael Brewer (Virginia Tech), and their star receiver, Connor Floyd (Tulsa), were both injured and did not play. Colin Lagasse (SMU), the starting safety came in at the last minute to play quarterback. It had been raining and the field was very soggy. Lake Travis’ opponent that night was Aledo, also undefeated and ranked number 2 in the state. They were led by star running back Jonathan Gray (Texas), voted a USA Today All-American and the Gatorade national player of the year. During his high school career Gray ran for 10,881 yards and scored 205 touchdowns setting a national record. His senior year he ran for 3,891 yards and averaged 11.2 yards per carry and scored 65 touchdowns.

The game that night was a hard fought defensive battle from start to finish. Lake Travis had a 10-7 lead late in the 4th quarter and held Jonathan Gray to 134 yards in 29 carries. However, with minutes to play Aledo scored on a 4th down play and went ahead 14 to 10. On the next drive Lake Travis started on their own 20 and drove down the field to the Aledo 42 yard line. The home crowd went wild. However, on the next play they fumbled and Aledo recovered the ball and won the game. The Lake Travis crowd gave their team a standing ovation after the game for their great effort playing without their star QB and receiver. Walking back to the car Britton said, “The game was really close wasn’t it?” I told him that it was really close. He then said, “We almost tied them!” I replied, “Yes we almost did.” After all, four points is not that big a difference. He then said, “I think I’m just going to call it a tie!” What a positive way to make a disappointing situation not seem so bad! That year Aledo went 16-0 for the season and won the state championship in Division II and Lake Travis went 15-1 and won the state championship in Division 1. So it really was kind of a like a tie in the end.

Lesson: We need to be realistic most of the time, but sometimes we just need to look on the bright side of life and call it a tie.

Don’t Believe Everything You Think

In November 2015 I took Britton, our 11-year-old grandson to his night football practice.  His parents, Natalie and Steven Jones were in Portland looking for a place to live. I dropped him near the concession stand and then went and parked the car. When I arrived to watch his practice I saw that there were three teams on three different fields. No problem except for the fact that they all had the exact same black uniforms on.  I got a little panicked when I realized that I had no idea which team was his. I didn’t even know what number he was. I went between the different fields trying to see if I could recognize him. Even those the boys were different sizes I couldn’t tell which was his size and they all had helmets on. I felt a little irresponsible not getting things worked out before I dropped him off. Finally, I called Natalie in Portland and asked what his number was and what his coaches looked like. I was relieved when I finally spotted him.

As we are riding home after practice that night we were talking about why there were three teams that all had the same name and uniforms. He explained that they were three different ages groups. He then told me that one team was the “Pee Wee” team for the 8 and 9 year olds and they had a 7 wins and 1 loss record for the season. The next team up was the “Junior” team for the 10 and 11 year old boys and they had 8 wins and 0 losses. Lastly was the “Senior” team which was for the 12 and 13 year old boys. They also had an 8 win and 0 loss season going. Then he pointed out that the three “Outlaw” teams had a combined record of 23 and 1 for the season. He then said that the University of Texas team was really bad because they had 3 wins and 5 losses at the time. This lead to what on the surface appears to be a valid argument. He said that if they put all three “Outlaw” teams together then they could beat the Texas Longhorn football team. I tried to explain that college players were very big and very fast and had lots of experience. However, I couldn’t totally convince him that a combined team with a record of 23-1 shouldn’t easily beat a team that had a 3 and 5 record. Of course they never played each other so we didn’t get to see who was right. I have a feeling I know the answer however.

I learned a very important lesson that night. I learned that it is possible to be very mislead by some of the information we are exposed to every day. It easy to be mislead by some even well meaning individuals or groups. Just because there seam to be logical stats for a certain view does not mean it is true. Before believing things you read or arguments people make you should always do your homework to make sure you are seeing the big picture.


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