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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "It's No Use Crying over Spilt Milk" (without using the actual phrase or literal exampl (02/07/08)

TITLE: The Evasive Touchdown Victory Does Not Cause the End of Civilization
By Dan Blankenship
02/10/08


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Only one person remained in the humid locker room. The mirrors had dripped away the foggy layer that made them useless only a half hour earlier. There was an eerie silence around Doug Mansfield as he sat on one of the benches surrounded by oversized lockers that had been emptied out for the season. But inside the young quarterback’s head there was no silence, only a reoccurring mental image of the last play of the game. He was a junior, and he had been the quarterback of the Garlen Lions since his freshman year. His stomach ached with the remorse of losing the sectionals on the last play of the game, three years in a row now.

Doug heard someone come into the locker room. He knew it was probably Coach Grayson. He waited to hear the coaches voice, knowing that words of encouragement and wisdom were about to be spoken. But Doug was not going to look up. He didn’t want the coach to see his eyes. Coach Grayson wanted his players to hold their heads up win they lose, not wallow in self-pity and remorse.

“Mansfield, you okay?” Coach Grayson asked.

Doug never dreamed those words would come from Coach. “Yeah, eventually I’ll be all right. I just can’t believe it. I mean three years in a row. I choked three years in a row…same play…same pass…even the same final score. It’s like that movie “Groundhog Day” with Bill Murray, you know, the same day repeating itself over and over again. Only I get a year in between days, and I know I‘ve only got one more year left.” Doug replied, trying hard to keep his voice from cracking.

“Doug, I know what you’re going through has got to be tough. Getting so close to something that you want so much and then having it slip away is terrible. But what’s worse than that is letting past failures keep you from future successes. Dwelling on the past accomplishes nothing. You absolutely have to concentrate on effort, training, and planning to achieve anything worthwhile. You always give 100-percent at practice, and the only reason we’ve come this far three years in a row is because of that focus. God gave you a gift, a talent, and you’ve used it to keep yourself sharp and disciplined. You inspire your peers and our community every time you take the field.”

“The fans and the students wouldn’t even look at me as they left the stadium.”

“Doug, they weren’t the ones on that field. You were out there, in the fire, fighting to achieve something you trained hard for. You can’t live your life worrying about how others see your efforts. If you know you gave it your all, and you know your heart was in the right place, then you know you did everything you could do. God, family, and teammates never ask for more than that.”

Coach Grayson reached out his hand and gently pulled Doug up off the bench by his arm and then patted him on the back.

“What about fans, Coach? They want more than that?” Doug asked, packing his stuff into his gym bag.

“Yeah, fans always want more than that. I think that’s why they stay in the stands,” Coach replied.

A smile crossed Doug’s face as he left the locker room that evening, and exactly one year later the Garlen Lions not only won the sectionals, they went on to become state champions with an undefeated season.


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This article has been read 749 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sara Harricharan 02/14/08
I'm not exactly a sports fan, but this was interesting to see it presented in a more personal way for the reader. The long title caught my eye though. good job. ^_^
Christine Dunn02/14/08
This illustrated the topic perfectly. I'm glad to see how he learned from the defeat, and went on to do great things. Just one typo I think. Very well written.
Joanne Sher 02/14/08
A compelling read and a very good pep talk. I'm not a football fan, but this is a lesson for anyone. Nicely done.
c clemons02/18/08
The title was a little long in my opinion, but other than that a good read. Good job.
Sheri Gordon02/19/08
I am a huge football fan -- sports fan in general -- so your title definitely caught my eye. This is a great message for all athletes -- and done in a nice, short, concise format. Great example of the topic.
Joanne Sher 02/22/08
Nice job, Dan! Don't know if you get to the boards much, but wanted to be sure you saw that you placed 12th in your level and 28th overall. (So - coming to Nashville?) :)