This is a tough post for me to write. Up to this point I’ve been celebrating programs that have been successful and done things the right way, but it doesn’t always follow that doing things the right way will lead to success. The fact is that half of all the teams every week lose. There are just as many losses out there as wins. Many, perhaps most, of the teams on the losing end, worked hard and were well coached.
Looking at most of my posts it would be easy to get the simplistic idea that winning will happen if things are done like they’re being done at Aledo, Abilene, La Marque or Stamford. If I’m giving this impression I apologize, I’m still feeling my way through this writing thing and I’m constantly learning new things and hopefully, getting better at making my points. My intention here is not to celebrate “winning”. I probably know better than most that winning is not always possible no matter how hard you work, how much you want it, how good your athletes are or how smart a coach you are. Winning comes from a combination of factors, many which are out of anyone’s control. Wanting it, being a smart coach, a good athlete and working hard may only put a team in position to win. While I maintain that football IS the fairest of sports, in the end, football is a lot like life and, as my dad always liked to say, “Life isn’t fair.”
Two years ago the Stony Point Tigers in Round Rock were on a roll. They were the first school in Round Rock history to advance to the state semifinals and managed this feat three straight years, winning a tough district four years in a row from 2007 to 2010.
In the last two years thing have gotten tougher. Since the 5A semifinal in 2010, the Tigers have a record of 7-10. Instead of expecting a district title, the Tigers are hoping to make the playoffs in 2012.
Round Rock is a growing suburb north of Austin and like many other towns outside Texas boom areas of Austin, San Antonio, Houston and the DFW Metroplex, fast growth is creating tremendous upheaval to schools and athletic programs. Schools are opened with 500 students and a few years later, bursting at the seams. More new schools are built to relieve overcrowding; zoning lines are changed, making the enrollment seesaw again. From an athletic standpoint this volatility is having an enormous impact. Some schools gaining from a particular shift while others are hurt. This isn’t just a Texas thing, it’s happened to me at the two Reno schools I coached for. But the population shift from west to east and rural to urban in Texas makes these changes very dramatic right now.
Stony Point was hurt by the opening of neighboring Cedar Ridge last year, the new school took many former Stony Point kids and the Tigers have struggled. Things may be looking up however. Changes are still occurring. Newer neighborhoods are being built and enrollment should climb the next few years. On the football front, while the team is 3-4, the Tigers lost by margins of 1,1,2 and 10 points, showing just how close they are to turning the corner.
As far as two days of watching practice can tell me, this is a program that is doing things the right way. The coaches are well organized, very energetic and teach very well. The kids seem to be coachable and tough. Everyone is working hard for a win this week against Round Rock Westwood. Whether these commitments to doing things right will pay off the next three weeks or next three years, I don’t know. But I’m sure the coaches here would agree that you don’t work your butt off simply to win, but because it’s the right way to do things and the only way to hold your head up after the results are on the scoreboard. Wins are just, a sometimes flawed, measuring stick. In a fair world everyone who paid the price would be rewarded for it, but life isn’t fair.