My facebook and twitter feeds have been loaded today with support for my high school alma mater, The Irwin County High School Indians located in Ocilla, Ga.
The Irwin County Indian football team competed in the Georgia Dome today and although I understand their efforts did not translate into a W, I would like to honor them as examples of hard work and discipline.
Student athletes everywhere, regardless of sport or location, show up to practice and give it all they have. They train and compete, walking away with Wins and Losses. They are coached and hopefully coachable, and if they learn how to win and how to lose with honor, dignity and respect, they take a lifeskill with them that goes far beyond the scoreboard. I haven't been to Irwin County in years, but my brothers and father played for the Indians, and I participated in the marching band all four years. Football was just a part of our lives. After witnessing the social media outpouring of community support, I am super proud of these boys that I've never met. I am also proud of the neighboring communities of Fitzgerald and Ocilla and how they supported one another in the dome, in spite of being local rivals.
My husband has played ball on all levels and coached for many years. As a coach's wife and now a player's mother, I know the whole "it's just a game" platitude can crawl up and down your spine like a snake. It's not just a game. It's hours and hours of blood, sweat, and tears poured out on a field. It's time away from family. It's coaching other people's children to become productive, responsible leaders in the community. It's sacrifice. It's life changing.
So. . .Thank you student athletes, coaches and parents. Thank you for the example set for us all! Go Indians! Go Canes! Take this experience and make it a part of who you are!
Amanda Williams is a forty-year old wife and mother of two who can still swing her pony tail and display just a tad of sass. She is also a Jesus loving girl who realizes she is nothing without the One who saved her. Amanda has two degrees specializing in serving students with special needs and is currently working in the field of Leadership Development. She is a Christian author, speaker, blogger, and publisher who loves serving beside her husband at her local place of worship, First Baptist Church of Ocala.