This is for the kids tagged as an undervalued trail of waste, tossed to the side before the cards were ever even dealt. For all of the young guns with hearts of gold in their chests, underappreciated and counted out as mere leftover runts. For the blue-collar first generation student who never gets life handed to them on a silver platter.
This is for the kids who are less than 48 hours away from the biggest game they will ever play in their entire young adult life.
For full effect, download “Pain” by Jimmy Eat World and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post.
Roy has never been a winner. Lets just accept that as fact. When the highlight of your season comes from a one-point overtime victory over a winless Copper Hills squad that was just informed how the game of football works 30 minutes before kickoff, you know there is a problem. Motivational speeches such as “Win one for the Gipper,” or “Leave it all on the field” are replaced with, “Don’t be the only team in the history of Roy High sports to finish without a win.” Yeah, that’s motivating enough. Here kid, don’t be the biggest loser we’ve ever seen. And believe me, there have been a whole slew of them in these parts.
Words like those never get someone to play better.
In the eyes of modern sports Roy has been listed as the losers, the nobodys, the has been/never was/never will be deadbeat duds that should settle for a life of below average mediocrity. We have always been held in the same category as the bastard stepchild that no one wants to be seen in public with. Roy is a place of failure, a place of nothing. Roy is somewhere that if mentioned in public the opposite party flinches back with a look of disgust washed over their face cringing at the idea that you escaped from that prison of a city.
Historically speaking we have always played the role of the underdog, the Davids, the Rudys, the Rocky Balboas. Except in our case, things never seem to pan out to a ride-off-in-the-sunset Hollywood ending. In our case, Goliath always dodges the pebble and bites our heads off. We get cut and never play a single down for Notre Dame. Ivan Drago knocks us out cold and the Communist government takes over modern civilization. Roy is the underdog that never catches a break. The little engine that couldn’t. The William Wallace never leading the charge.
But this time, things are different. You can feel it, and so can I. This time, you’re not going to get lost in the shuffle. This time, you’re not going to be remembered as the team that almost did it, or the team that had it in their hands and blundered up a title. This time you’re going to be praised as the best in the land, the top dogs, the Alphas, the numero unos vindicating years of embarrassment and infamy. This time you are not the scum of the earth, but rather the best this world can offer. This time, everyone will be proud to wear the black and gold.
So just do it. Do it for your coaches, do it for your parents, do it for your teachers. Do it for Guy Andersen, and Eric Jones, and Rod Bockwoldt. Do it for The Shield, and do it to spite those damn Lakers. Do it for the alumni that will be screaming their faces off at Rice-Eccles stadium on Friday night. Do it for all of those losing seasons every kid has endured for the last forty years of our history. Do it for you, and do it for me. Do it for every underdog that never stands a chance. Be the little guy that no one saw coming, the champion who rises up from the dust once in a generation and will be revered in the record books. Be the underdog that everyone wants to win.
Because every once in a while, that underdog comes out the victor.