Many years ago, in a faraway land, I was once the head coach of a high school football program that was well known for being not so good. The football program had been alive for 35 years by the time I took over as a 26-year old whipper snapper. I had people tell me I was crazy for taking that job.
The school had never had a district win in 35 years.
It had never been to the playoffs, of course, in 35 years.
I inherited a program with 19 players.
Yet, I wanted to do something that had never been done.
And then we did. But it didn't come easily.
One of the things that made the first couple of years tough, in some sense, was the success of the other programs at the school. My good friend's softball team was a juggernaut and made it all the way to the state tournament in Tallahassee. The school gave them a pep rally send-off, the games were packed and in general was the toast of the school. My buddy's basketball team won the district title over the top ranked rival school from across town in one of the best coached games that I saw at that school.
I saw those things happen and it motivated me to get the football program to that level. After three really tough years and a ton of blood, sweat and tears, we got there. We went 3-1 in district, earned a district co-championship and hosted the school's first playoff game in the history of the school.
That night as we were about to enter the stadium, more packed than that place had ever been, I stood in front of the players and told them to look around, see what they did, that they did that. For me though, the motivation for that night came from the success of others.
I bring that story up because I couldn't help but think about the success of the Rockets in Game 6 in LA against the Clippers and how a win like that could be motivating to all Texans that watched it. A ton of these Texans players love hoops and were probably up late watching that game last night. Trust me, when I say that many of them were thinking what it would be like to win a game like that as a Texan. I know I did.
Listen to the response today. This city has so much pride in that team and how it battled back in the fourth quarter of that win. Down and nearly out, Corey Brewer and Josh Smith, two guys that weren't even Rockets at the start of the year, put that organization and this city on their backs and brought this series back to Houston for Game 7.
As a longtime Houston sports fan, I've seen a little bit of everything but something about last night was different. The Rockets were comatose for three games in this series and for much of three quarters in Game six. But, they were never dead. Today? The series is tied and they're more alive than ever.
For me though, I hoped there were some Texans at home watching, motivated to follow in the footsteps of what the Rockets have done. It'd be hard not to be after a stirring performance like that one.
Best of luck in Game 7, Rockets, it's time to finish the job. The Texans hope to repay the favor in 2015.