There isn’t enough football in Napoleon Dynamite for it to qualify as one of my favorite football movies, but it is definitely the best movie ever that mentions “delicious bass.” One of my favorite scenes (there are so many to choose from!) is football related. Uncle Rico is sitting with Napoleon and Kip and they are watching a video he made of himself throwing a football. No receivers – just him with that classic headband zipping the ball around the prairie. Kip seems neutral; Napoleon proclaims it the “worst video ever;” and Uncle Rico is almost mesmerized with his performance when hearkens to his high school playing days and pines, “Ohhhh, man I wish I could go back in time. I’d take state.”
This is especially hilarious to old(ish) guys like me because we all have a little Uncle Rico in us. There isn’t an ex-high school athlete (except for those very few who went onto greater athletic glory in college or the pros) who hasn’t thought back to their playing days and wondered what could have been. “What if I could go back and play that game (or season) again?” I admit that I’ve done that plenty of times – I just never filmed myself as a 30- or 40- or 50-something wannabe athlete re-enacting my youthful sports life.
Here’s a memo to current high school athletes everywhere: you can’t go back. Do it now. Whatever you have dreamed; whatever you have worked for; this is your time.
Especially you senior football players. Forget your first three years. Maybe you played a lot; maybe not. Your team may have won tons of games and maybe they have been terrible. It doesn’t matter now. All you need to care about is the now.
Don’t worry about next year. Maybe you’ll be in college this time next year and maybe you’ll have a job. Forget about it. All you need to care about is the now.
What you and your football team do over the next few weeks is all that matters. From the starting quarterback to the freshman on the end of the bench, now is the time to grab the glory. Make the memories you will never forget.
Week 9 will be a beginning for half the teams that move onto the playoffs while it will be the end for the other half. A lot of seniors will play their last game ever on Friday. That may not dawn on you right away, but it will soon enough. So if you were ever going to play like it’s your last game – you need to do it Friday night. Don’t waste this opportunity to be great. Even you underclassmen. Your last game will come sooner than you think, so make the most of week 9 – and every game – while you still can.
Only six teams will raise championship trophies on the floor of the UNI-Dome. Every other team will end their season with a defeat, and it will taste bitter. If your team isn’t one of fortunate few that will be celebrating, just make sure you go down knowing you gave it your best shot. Don’t be Uncle Rico 20 years from now saying, “Yeah…if Coach woulda put me in fourth quarter, we woulda been state champions. No doubt. No doubt in my mind.”
Woulda, shoulda, coulda doesn’t cut it. Do. Leave the field with no regrets. Because you can’t go back.