Friday, November 18, 2016

Trip to the Ship 2016

The Trip to the Ship 2016
By Rev. Coach Peter T. Atkinson

Just four years ago we took a trip,
An historic trip to the championship,
And now we’re poised to take another
To join that honored band of brothers,
And put our names alongside theirs
To bear the load that most wouldn’t dare
To do what few break through and do,
To pursue that elusive, chance to dance
To rise beyond your size and advance
Today all the way to the last game,
To be the last team standing, the same
Team that stood together way back when
For then the sun was hot, way back then,
When camp came round the bend again,
You’d sweat, and work, and grow together
With no chance to rest, no rain in the weather
With Coach Jolin when the dawn was breaking
To late at night with the darkness making
It so dark we couldn’t even see our face,
But you don’t need light to run one more race,
Against yourself, your drive your will to win,
So when it comes you can take it on the chin,
And rise up, yes rise high, standing tall,
For though you fall, though you drop the ball
Though you feel you’ve given more than your all,
You still rise up and take the call,
For the Marines were coming, who could forget,
Ammunition cans, grenades, your face dripping with sweat
Your brother on your back, your legs failing,
Your arms flailing, who said football was smooth sailing,
Alongside the Falcons from up there in Queens,
You learned what perseverance truly means,
A lesson we’d need, for if we are to succeed
Indeed, and exceed expectations, I think we’re agreed
It’s going to take more than we’ve ever given,
More than any one us has ever alone striven,
That only in the full combination of all of us
Can we ever achieve the aspiration ahead of us
To say we made it through the duration now in back of us
And join in the celebration that’s now to be grasped by us.
Who knew then we’d be still standing here today,
With only the championship game left to play.
Who knew then when we came out so slow
Beating Hargrave, sure, but what did we show,
That we could pile on yard after yard,
But the win was scarred, our game was marred
By penalties and mistakes, Jamison ejected,
Guilty of a phantom punch somehow detected
By an official on the other side of the field,
The league deaf to our desire to make an appeal,
But what difference would it make unless we could learn
Our season was taking an unfortunate turn.
For the next two games would be more of the same
Gaining fame to our name, but my what a shame,
To lay claim to two losses and owning the blame
Ourselves, not because the other team beat us,
For no one in another color jersey could ever defeat us
No our demons resided uniquely inside us,
Verified by the two game slide that tried to divide us.
And so we tried to run it out of you up the hill,
And we yelled, then repeated it drill after drill,
And the sun shining down, making it hotter still,
We kept beating our heads against the wall until,
We heard Jamison say, “Man coach, just chill.”
And we felt that ever cooling breeze on our face
Looked at the schedule, thought, this is our place,
Let’s win a few games, as the temperature cools
A little confidence can cure the doubts of fools
We’ll be much better in more temperate weather,
And along the way we can play even better together
And maybe our problems will all disappear
And winning itself may clear our fear
And bring in a whole new atmosphere, and it did
We ended our skid, got rid of those Covenant kids.
With tough defense, tackling and sacking
Next we sent Nansemond Suffolk home again packing,
And then on to STAB, who could ever forget,
I know I haven’t forgotten it yet,
We wanted to show Charlottesville that we were legit
A display of redemption we wanted to submit
Submit, oops, No pun intended, of course, well maybe a bit,
I can hear Tyler saying, man it was so lit,
Cause, half way through third they decid. . . .
No we can’t talk, shouldn’t talk about that,
For there was no doubt we’d stomped them flat,
And so onward, ever onward, at home for VES,
After one quarter we knew already who was best,
And we looked it, oh yes, in our fresh new look grays,
It was a shame we’d never get to wear them any more days
For our last two games we’d have to play on the road,
And our missteps early clearly showed,
That if we were going to win this thing,
To sing of victory and earn the ring, we’d have to bring
Our game to every corner of the state
An underdog with a lot of meat left on his plate
Resigned to his fate, happy to wait and contemplate
No matter the date or the distance we’d travel
No matter the opponent who’s game we’d unravel,
No matter the challenge the opportunity was now
Keep winning and the chance would be ours somehow,
We started fast at Randolph - Macon
But though ahead, we just couldn’t shake ‘em,
Until they went and kicked Jahlil in the head,
Naaa, not the choice I would’ve gone with, instead,
You woke the sleeping giants and wound up dead.
We poured on points, we shut them down,
And when the final bell was sound,
We’d all but clinched a playoff spot,
One more win, and we’d surely be in, a shot,
A chance to roll the dice, for only losing twice,
Can suffice to purchase a ticket to paradise,
But that win would need come from the champs defending,
Whose move up a division left their season ending,
Earlier than ours with not much to lose
But so much to gain, and they’d surely refuse
To go away light and not put up a fight
We knew they’d be tough, and man we were right.
They fought and we talked, we talked and they fought
We came from behind, stole the victory they sought,
And when the game had come to nought,
It was more than their character bought they thought,
For they fled their field, left us there hanging,
With no handshake, no fist pumps banging,
But from there we could already hear that victory bell clanging.
And so again we were playoff bound,
Two years in a row we’ve made this round,
But last year it was all we could get,
Those dirty sheets we’d love to forget
This year though off to Virginia Beach
A lesson to Atlantic Shores we’d get to teach,
All our goals just happen to be well within reach
And dialed in we were, all, one, and each.
We started fast, faster than they did,
We kept our focus, we had finally got rid
Of mistakes, penalties, and trash talk,
Learning to let our play be the only talk we’d walk.
Jet sweep, we’d run it and run it again,
They still haven’t stopped it, and it’s been a week since then,
But at the end we prayed together and left as friends
We may have started as boys but we did become men.
And it’s men I look out on today,
Tested by fire, and so I can now say,
There were times this year when I wasn’t sure
You knew what you could do, what your
Potential could be, what you looked in the mirror to see
What as a collective this team could actually be.
There were times I thought you’d settle for less
To accept a version of yourself less than your best
To win the battles that mean nothing and so lose the wars
To be victorious in selfish measurements instead of the scores.
There were times I thought we’d let this chance slip away,
And not get the chance to be standing here today
But now we are here, and it’s all for the taking
To get our redemption, our statement start making,
There is no question we are the better team,
We have the better athletes, we have the better scheme,
We’ve been tested by much harder times than these
Times that force weaker men to their knees,
Situations that would make other men freeze,
Have become opportunities for us now to seize.
It’s all there for us, it’s ours to win or lose
No time for excuses, it’s simply time to choose.
Are you willing to risk and be great
To consummate the hard work and for once create
A legacy that will live beyond your self
To bring home a trophy that will never leave the shelf
What you get to do tomorrow is so precious so rare,
And all of your ring fingers to me look a little bare,
But now our talking is done, but you see talking is cheap,
It’s time now for your play to put you on top of the heap,
And bring home that gold, whooo, it’s yours go take of it,
Opportunities are grasped by just what you make of it.
Are you ready, shhhhhh, I guess now we’ll see
Just what kind of team you will choose now to be.