And the beat goes on and on

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 26, 2001

Well here we are in week three of the gridiron madness, and what a three weeks it has been!

Following last week's act of war against our nation in both New York City and Washington, D.C., we are all trying to do what President Bush has asked of us n let the beat go on, trust in the government that they will handle the situation appropriately, and show unity in patriotism.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I am still semi-fogged about the whole situation.

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Both Friday and Saturday I was able to bear witness to our children showing their acts of unity and patriotism with both special ceremonies in games on Friday during the 7 p.m. vigil requested by our Commander-In-Chief, and during displays of true heartfelt sympathy, empathy, and faith ever since.

It's one thing to hear adults say "God Bless America" but certainly a more moving experience to see and hear our children doing so, as did the Greenville High School cheerleaders on Saturday, when at the game in Mobile, they held up a hand-painted banner saying just that, with a beautiful American flag, also hand-painted on it for the team to make their entrance onto the field with.

One has to wonder though, if the psychological effect has caused problems with the teams, because nearly all of our teams have played like they too are in a fog.

I for one know that what would make them feel better would be if they were to look up from the fields and see not a single empty seat in the bleachers this weekend as they represent their schools and families with pride, dignity, and genuine dedication.

I think, too that the coaches need more help then they are getting. Help, that is from the home fronts.

It's too easy to say that the coaches aren't motivating the teams n that is a cop-out. The easy way to pass the buck.

How many parents have come out to the practices? I have seen each team practice, and to be quite honest, when I get to the fields, I can count the number of parents on one hand (even though I have two that would serve the purpose).

If parents were there to see how hard the coaches are working with the players, they would know more about where they could pick up the ball and keep that motivation going once the practice is through.

Where are the values of family, if not at home?

Parents, tell your children how much you love them, and are proud of them. Let them hear you say it, over, and over, and over again, until they are believers.

That kind of believing goes a long way into the roots of subconscious thinking, and they will start to believe in themselves, and before you know it, their performance will be better for it.

I have found myself at wits-end this year, with regard to children in general, to the point where I want to beat my head against the wall. But the bottom line is this, as pointed out by a very special friend of mine this weekend n sometimes it is just attention they want, whether it is positive or negative. And if they are getting attention, they will continue to do what they can to get it, whether it is in fact positive or negative.

I am just as guilty as anyone else.

I sit here at my desk, with pictures of all five of my girls in front of me, and I guess to anyone looking at them there, it makes a good impression.

But although I am extremely proud of each one of them for their individualism, and it makes me so happy to see their smiling faces staring at me from the frames on my desk, I think somewhere along the way I lost focus, just as many other parents probably have done too.

Therefore, I think I shall start to encourage and extract that positive side from my girls, as should every parent.

I have never been one to think I am perfect, but it doesn't take a Mack truck hitting me in the face to realize that something has got to give.

It just happened to help that four planes took out more lives than I could imagine being lost on our home front, here in the heartland.

So maybe it does start at home, and circulate from there, radiating outward with each swoop of the circle.

But as I mentioned to my wife Friday morning, while we were at the service in Confederate Park, what if that had been she or I in one of those planes?

What if one person whose life was lost in those planes or the buildings had left their family that day, absentmindedly and quite innocently forgetting to say "I love you?"

I don't know how much sense this is all making, or if it is anything more than my just rattling and rambling on, but what I do know is there is a sign over my mirror at home, it has been there for several years, and it says the following: "Yesterday is in the past, and tomorrow is in the future, but today is a gift, and that is why it is called the present."

As my mentor, Buster MacGuire says on many an occasion, "There's truth in them there words."

Until next week, this is your sports correspondent signing off, say that if you look on the west side of the field (which on a compass is toward the left), you will find me out there, way out in Deep Left Field.