Tag Archives: Championship

Building a Championship Culture

Defying all odds, a small team becomes the only undefeated team in the state across all classifications. How did they do it? By building a championship culture one item at a time. Continue reading

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Columbine is not Perfect

Over on the football field, a giant purple tiger paw outlined in white lies in the center of the turf field, replacing the one that used to be painted on the grass each week. Every player from both past and present has understood the importance of protecting what that paw represents—their house and their home field in Tiger Country. Before any of the advertising campaigns began highlighting the pride and tradition for defending “Our House,” this paw had a significance of its own. Back in 1996, Lovett, a team from Atlanta and a huge rival for the Tigers, came here to play. One former Tiger from the class of 1998 was quoted in huge bold letters on the football page of the yearbook in a simple statement: “I hate Lovett,” quantifying the feelings that the Darlington players had for this team.
As was a tradition for their away games, the Lovett football players brought water from the Chattahoochee River that runs behind their school and poured it onto that Tiger paw as a symbol that they were bringing their home field here. Upon seeing this act, the Darlington coaches told the players what had occurred and created such a frenzy that they had to hold back several of the players from charging the field to defend their paw before the game even began. After calming down, the Tigers proceeded to defeat Lovett that night decisively 46-27. Incidentally, some of the seniors from that year had younger brothers that were destined to be a part of the magical 1998 team, and these young men had surely witnessed this event and relived it through the stories that circulated afterward. This event was just one more of the many elements that added to the bubbling undercurrent of the explosive championship ahead.
If you stroll along the edge of the bleachers at Chris Hunter Stadium today, you can almost smell the popcorn drifting through the air and feel the electricity building as your mind effortlessly conjures a sea of students and fans filing into their seats, some coming to socialize, but most with the intent of watching their beloved team. Memories surface of the familiar presence of smoke hanging over the stadium at game time that was a unique phenomenon created from the position of the concessions stand grill near the playing field. There is a palpable sense of pride that originates from the sacrifice of blood and sweat spilled by all the young men that have played at “The Lakeside.” Even though energy and pride have always existed among the players every year, something was different in 1998, something that was built on the backs of the teams before them. Something you could feel growing after each win. A hope. A sense of possibility. A dream. And a belief that anything was possible. Players and coaches would later describe it in different ways, and each would remember a moment when it all began to come together, but they would all agree that something unusual was driving them forward. So while our country grappled with President Bill Clinton’s upcoming impeachment and a home run contest consumed the baseball world, the seniors of this 1998 team would be able to boast that they had a 35-4 record for their last three years. They would complete their journey by playing their final game on a cold night only six days before Christmas in front of a crowd of over 6,000 people, most of whom willed them to lose, in a town far away from their small quiet home. Continue reading

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Honor on the Football Field

I recently watched part of a series on the Medal of Honor recipients. The commentator mentioned that of the 40 Billion that have served our country, only roughly 3600 have ever received this award. The man honored in the show … Continue reading

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Struggling for a Purpose

The end of fall sports seasons is near. Many athletes have completed their games while others are now entering playoff competitions. Even though my children are now all gone, I still enjoy attending events to watch other kids compete. Besides, … Continue reading

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Perfect: The Building of a Championship Culture

  Just a bit earlier than expected…I decided to show you a little peek at the book. It’s almost finished. Here is a little taste of the contents!  Enjoy! Book cover, pre-orders, and release date announcements will be soon!   Rolling … Continue reading

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