• As the head coach called everyone in, I had been feeling that no one had been trying very hard. I was probably right because when I saw the look on Coach Burke's face, I knew that it was most likely the case. From sophomores to seniors, we gathered around coach and took a knee. If I had to guess how many of us there were I would have had to say 'round eighty. Maybe more. It was highly unusual for him to call us all together in the middle of practice. At the beginning, happens. At the end, almost every time. In the middle though? Never.

    The coach started off by lecturing the lot of us. He told us how bad we had been doing and how we should and could be doing much better. He went like this for about ten minutes before handing it off to the offensive coordinator, who added just a few comments. Then the offensive coordinator decided to he would let one of us decide if we wanted to give a speech. The instant he asked I knew in my gut I should stand up and give one. I started putting pressure on my right leg that held me upright as I sat on one knee. Then it hit me as I realized I would be speaking in front of a lot of people I had never spoken to before. I didn't even know how they would react to what I said. The fear was gnawing at me so quickly! It surprised me how fast the fear got to me.

    It was then I heard Coach Allen, the offensive coordinator, call out to us that this was our last chance to talk. It was as if my body was moving for me as I stood up and raised my hand. Coach Allen gestured me forward to the front of the eighty other football players on my team. Seeing all those guys stalled me for a second. Just one second. Then I started it off with this, "Alright guys, let's face it. We were doing bad. I know I was for sure. We were just playing for ourselves. Doing good only when we felt like it. That's not how it should be. Coach Burke spends most of his time finding ways to make us better and this is how we repay him? With a half-hearted effort? That is wrong and you know it. Since Coach Burke goes through all the trouble to mold us into a better team why don't we give it our all? Not just our all, let's give twice that!!!! Let's show Coach Burke that we do care! Get up!!!" Everyone stood up as we all raised our helmets in the air. I shouted, "one, two, three, Cougars!!!!!" With that we all went back to our separate position coaches.

    All the guys patted me on the back while took turns doing the drills. They had been surprised I had such fire in me. Even more surprised that I was able to move the whole team. Heck, I had surprised myself after that rousing speech. Everyone did much better the second half of practice. I made sure that I gave it my all and then I gave it again. If I didn't do what I said then how could I be able to face everyone? Practice ended with everyone sweaty, panting, and exhausted. They felt satisfied though that they had given their all. Coach Burke walked up to us as he gathered before him. It was like a commander with his battalion. The first thing he said was that he was proud of us to give our all and then some the last half. He then said to everyone, "I don't care about talent if you don't have the will to win. Or the desire to win. If you don't have the desire then all that talent doesn't do you any good. If I had ten more guys like Wharton, I would have me an unbeatable team!"