Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

Be Courageous

Posted by admin October - 5 - 2012 - Friday

It still resonates in my mind 11 years later. And I shared that moment with my team just before we went on the field a few Fridays ago.

It was Friday night, Sept. 14, 2001— 3 days after the attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. We’d been sent home Tuesday afternoon since everyone was in shock over the events of the day. By Friday I was pleased that the administration was allowing us to play football that night. As we were coming out of our locker room for the game to start, the band was already on the field. We stopped under the stands for the playing of the national anthem. I had a perfect view of the American flag at half staff in our stadium as the band began to play. Tears of sadness for the losses; tears of pride in how our country was already bouncing back and tears of joy for knowing that God was still on His throne rolled down my face. Just an hour earlier in our team meeting, our defensive coordinator shared a story which captured the hearts of our players. Now, 11 years later on Friday, Sept. 14, 2012… I shared that same story with my team.

On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, United Flight 93 left Newark for San Francisco. It was hijacked by Islamic terrorists who claimed to have a bomb. When they received telephone confirmation that other planes with terrorist on board had hit the World Trade Center, the passengers knew the hijackers’ intentions. Todd Beamer picked up a seat-back phone and reached an operator to whom he described what was unfolding on the plane.

Beamer told her that he and others were going to “jump on” a hijacker who was guarding the passengers in the rear of the plane. Beamer asked the operator to pray the Lord’s Prayer with him. Dropping the phone after praying with the operator, Beamer was heard to say, “Jesus help me.” Then, after reciting the 23rd Psalm, he said, “Are you guys ready? Okay… let’s roll.

Those were the unforgettable last words Beamer spoke before he and others rushed the hijackers. There were screams heard over the phone, then silence. That day brave American civilians, complete strangers, rose up against unbelievable odds and tried to save the aircraft. In so doing, they made the ultimate sacrifice. As we all know, United Flight 93 crashed into a field in Pennsylvania, killing all 44 on board. Of the 4 hijacked planes that morning, theirs was the only one that did not hit its target.

I told my team that those men and women on board that plane showed courage— at the highest level. “Whatever we face tonight in this game, be courageous. Everybody ready? OK… let’s roll!

The Bible says in Deuteronemy, “Be strong and of good courage. The Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” Amen!

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