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Attitudes are contagious, are yours worth catching?

September 13, 2010

Three weeks are in the books in the high school football season.

There are seven weeks left of the regular season in Ohio and eight in West Virginia (that stupid bye week.)

Teams are anywhere from 3-0 to 0-3 and there are hundreds of stories how each team got there.

Some teams are 2-1 and and fighting, whining about stuff and generally need to look in the mirror, get over themselves and play football.

Some teams are 1-2 and feel good about the direction they are headed and welcome the challenges ahead.

Which team are you?

This week determines how you play Friday night, but also sets a foundation for the final weeks of the season.

Hard work does not guarantee success.

It just makes it easier to achieve.

For years Jack Nicklaus said that the harder he worked, the luckier he got.

"Defeat is not bitter unless you swallow it." - Joe Clark

Adversity is a wonderful thing for a football team to go through and every team has gone through adversity.

The answer to how the kids handle the adversity remains to be seen.

Are you 2-1 and will your seniors step up and make sure it's 3-1 come late Friday night?

Are you 0-3 and will practice this week like you're 3-0, looking to go 1-0 this week?

Or, will you bemoan the bad start and kick it in for the rest of the year?

If that's your answer, take your helmet off, move aside and let someone else play.

Teams cannot throw their helmets onto the field and expect the other team is going to cower in the corner.

At the same time, teams cannot go into a game expecting to lose, therefore giving those players an excuse not to compete.

"If you aren't fired with enthusiasm, you will be fired with enthusiasm." - Vince Lombardi

Coaches can only do so much.

At some point in time, the leaders of the team must lead correctly.

The leaders must figure out a way to get their teammates to understand the team is bigger than them.

It's up to the players to compete, play their assignments, be in the right place and do on Friday night what was taught Monday through Thursday for specific expectations and what has been taught since the beginning of the summer.

Coaches are basing wins and losses on 14- to 18-year-old kids.

That means those same kids who just broke up that morning in biology class, failed their drivers test for the third time, just got demoted to the second team or aced that brutal trigonometry test are the same kids who must suit up each Friday night, Saturday afternoon or Saturday night, put all that aside and be a great teammate.

Those are the same kids who will mess up, make mistakes, blow an assignment and, in general, act the same way they do in your household.

Those are the same kids who you have asked 16 times to do one thing and they haven't done it yet.

So, why, then, are you surprised when that same kid is demoted to the second team for not being meticulous to his assignments?

"The only disability in life is a bad attitude." - Scott Hamilton

David knew there was a giant to kill and he heard God tell him he was the one to do it.

So, the diminutive David, the youngest of eight sons to Jesse, went forward to slay the giant, despite the fact his three oldest brothers mocked him.

David later said to Saul that he would go fight the Philistine.

Saul said no because "for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth."

But, David went anyway.

And, after Goliath arose and people ran away, David ran toward the army to meet the Philistine, armed with a sling and five smooth stones.

One stone later, Goliath was dead.

You going to run from the challenge ahead or meet it head on?

"Whenever you're in conflict with someone, there is one factor that can make the difference between damaging your relationship and deepening it. That factor is attitude." - William James

Placing blame has no positive effect on anyone at any time.

If you are the dad who wants to blast the coach, but will do so at the end of the season so you don't hurt the possibility of your son's playing time during the season, then keep your mouth shut at the end of the season.

If you are the parent who has gone on websites and blasted kids or coaches or fans, keep your fingers quiet and quit hitting send.

That is not constructive.

That is divisive.

You might not be happy about what just transpired last week, but, guess what, you're not playing.

Your son is.

Your son knows that Friday night was a terrible effort.

Your son knows that his teammates did everything according to game plan and things were close to perfect for 48 minutes of football.

You son knows that pass was a half-second late and was almost returned 99 yards for a score.

You son knows that getting shut out was not fun and they don't want to hear your input.

"Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud." - Proverbs 16: 18-19

Kay Kellog is 62.

She has stage 3 multiple myeloma, an aggressive cancer that searches out and destroys the blood plasma in the bone marrow and doctors can do nothing for her.

Forever ago she was a ballet dancer as the Sugar Plum Fairy in "The Nutcracker."

Now, her ballet partner is a walker.

Living on a fixed income, she splurged a few years ago and bought season tickets to the Orlando Magic just to watch her favorite athlete, Dwight Howard.

While it's true with her seats she could almost touch the area ceiling, it didn't matter to her.

She just wanted to watch Howard play.

And, the only thing she wanted to do before she died was to meet the 7-footer.

He showed up last week at her apartment, scheduled to stay 30 minutes, he spent two hours with her.

About 25 inches taller than Kellog, Howard bent down to give her a hug goodbye and told her "You are taller than me."

"That's the silliest thing I've ever heard," she said.

"No," he said, "you are taller than me because your spirit lifts you up."

"I'm not afraid to die," she said. "I've had a great life with great friends, a great job and I raised two great daughters.

"And now that I've met my Dwight, what more is there?

"I told Dwight to say a prayer so that I'm around long enough to see him play on opening night."

(Mathison, a Weirton resident, is the sports editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and can be contacted at

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