The Playoffs

‘Tis the season… everyone this time of year… from the FBS level to high school class 1A… is talking about the playoffs. It is, without a doubt, exciting.

But consider the flip side for a moment. The very nature of the system dictates that at each one of these levels there is but one winner. Which means, conversely, that at every level of play, every team with the exception of one ends their season with a loss.   So, for instance, at the 4A level in Missouri 63 teams will finish their year on a losing note.

Anguish

I had the opportunity to witness this first hand last Friday in Osceola, Missouri at the conclusion of their District Championship game against Skyline. I have been a part of this season ending ritual, as a player, as a parent, and as a coach, but I have never had the chance to sit back and observe all of this unfold like I did last Friday.

Skyline won a hard fought battle, ending Osceola’s outstanding (11-2) season. The utter joy of Skyline’s players, coaches and fans (they were on the flip side of this outcome last year) was in stark contrast to the sadness of the Osceola faithful.

I observed as the coaches choked back tears, trying to find the words to console their players, while needing consolation themselves. Senior players who suddenly realized their high school careers were over were distraught.   Parents vocalized how they were not ready for this part of their family’s life to be finished. It was just unbelievably sad.

And this scene was played out at literally hundreds of locations all across Missouri … and thousands across the country… the last few weeks. And it will be replayed again and again until we crown that one single champion in each bracket.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating for an “everyone gets a medal and a hug” system. There is value in competing for a championship, lessons to be learned, and memories cherished while traversing that road… both great joy and bitter sadness.

And years from now, even the sad memories of a season hard fought, and a losing battle well waged are good memories.

I speak from experience… this is my son, Carter, and me after his season ending playoff loss his senior year in high school.   I still cherish that moment in time.

Carter and Dad

Best of luck to all of the teams still battling for championships!

Related Posts:

You Can Do More… your brain is lying to you…. Don’t Believe It!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

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Deja Vu

A year ago at this time I was making plans to travel south to Osceola, Missouri, to watch a Missouri Class 1A, Playoff game which pitted the visiting Skyline Tigers against the Osceola Indians. You see, Osceola was my first head-coaching job, Paul Carney (the head coach at Osceola) was my starting QB and Brandon Shelby (the head coach at Skyline) was in junior high and was my manager for that squad. In a tight contest, Osceola prevailed in 2013. I wrote about that game in my post, Your Best Work.

osceola logoskyline logoFast forward to this Friday. The same two teams, led by the same two coaches, meet again for the Missouri 1A, District 4 Championship.   Beyond my immediate connection to these teams and coaches, this game has a number of interesting story lines…. Here are a few… pick one.

Will the Student Become the Teacher?

As I mentioned, Paul Carney was the QB for the Osceola squad in the mid 80’s. He was a two time All State performer, and led the team to two conference championships and two playoff berths. Brandon Shelby (aka Dudley) was the manager of those squads. By his own admission, he idolized Paul, and when he got to High School, became the starting QB, an All State performer, and led the team to not only a playoff berth but also a playoff win. Who will be the Teacher and who will be the Student? I think both Paul and Brandon would consider each other colleagues and friends.

Parallel Paths

  • Both Paul Carney and Brandon Shelby played quarterback for Osceola High School… actually they were both three sport athletes… Paul starred in football, basketball and track, while Brandon was a standout athlete in football, basketball and baseball.
  • Both athletes led their teams to conference football championships, and Missouri State playoff berths.
  • Both Paul and Brandon were named to the Missouri All State team.
  • Both student-athletes attended Missouri State University and had stellar careers… Paul in football and Brandon in baseball.
  • Both decided to go into teaching and coaching.
  • Both have made the choice to coach football at a 1A school in Southwest Missouri.

Hometown Boys Make Good!

“Carney” and “Shelby” are household names in Osceola. Both Coach Carney and Coach Shelby have had outstanding playing and coaching careers. Paul recently recorded his 100th victory, and both he and Coach Shelby have garnered Coach of the Year honors. They both are very well respected coaches that lead a couple of the top 1A programs in the State. Their respective squads playing for the District Championship in their hometown for two consecutive years is a reflection of their work in the Missouri public education system.

Déjà vu – 2013

This game is a repeat of the 2013 tilt, which pitted these two teams (which I believe had the exact same records as this year) and coaches against one another at Osceola last year. Many of the same starters remain from the 2013 contest that saw Osceola edging Skyline 24-20 for the win. Osceola went on to defeat a strong Cass-Midway team 7-6 before falling to eventual State Champion, Ste. Genevieve Valle Catholic High School 35-11.

1A Football Overlooked

1A football often draws the short straw when it comes to football coverage in Missouri. At one point, the MSHSAA even held the 1A state championship game at a different (lesser) site than the big boys.

There are some very, VERY good 1A football programs in Missouri, and very good small school football being played all across the country. Osceola, Skyline, Cass-Midway, Valle Catholic, Penney, Marceline, West Platte, Plattesburg, South Shelby, Milan….and more. These teams are well coached and talented… every year. They are fun to watch.

There is a different feel to the games…. Hometowns, downtowns, rivalries, watching the game from your pickup truck bed, real grass fields, players going both ways, loyalty, tradition, history, and geography.

Two Former All-State QB’s are Mentoring the New Breed

Paul Carney and Brandon Shelby were both All-State quarterbacks in high school. It is no surprise that both coaches are now tutoring two of the top QB’s in Southwest Missouri, Junior Dylan Mountain at Skyline and Senior Driston Self at Osceola. Both have put up gaudy numbers over the last two years, doing damage with both their feet and arms. Both QB’s are talented, and both Coach Shelby and Coach Carney have their triggermen in offensive systems than can showcase their talent.

The Real Storyline is simply this….

These are two very talented football teams, coached by two of the finest men I know, meeting for the Missouri 1A District 4 championship… This is a game worth going to, covering, and reading about

Here is an excellent preview of the game from the OzarkSportsZone

Related Posts:

You Can Do More… your brain is lying to you…. Don’t Believe It!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Sewellism part II

osceolaA quick amendment to my previous post Enjoy the Journey, with some additional “Sewellisms” from my friend and colleague from our Osceola High School days, Greg Sewell.  These were a couple that my wife and I  laughed about just today!

 

  • Oh, the bitterness” – extreme disappointment… and the extended version “Oh, the bitterness I feel
  • Knothead” – probably referring to someone that caused him to say “Oh, the bitterness
  • He must have had the “operation”” … referring to a colleague that became a school administrator… “What operation is that?” some unwilling patsy would ask… “Oh, the operation to remove their backbone“… even funnier because Greg himself later had the “operation” and became a school administrator!

Feel free to send any other “Sewellisms” you might remember.

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com