In Athletics we talk a lot about how do we handle pressure, can you perform when the moments count? Studies will tell you it goes back to your training, repetition, mental toughness, and visualization of the positive. For instance, I will make this pass; I will make a great serve; I will make this catch, hit this ball or chase down the runner in front of me. You can not let a negative play creep into your mind even if you did miss a block, drop a ball or swing and miss. Over the past weeks the Cavalier Nation has been blessed with tremendous success on the courts and fields of play, and first and foremost that glory is returned to God, who has blessed us with so much. I don’t believe God cares much about sports, but I do believe he cares in the manner we handle those victories and defeats. Several weeks ago, Calvary took the first two sets of the State Championship match in volleyball. Playing a tremendous opponent, they battled back to take the next two and tied the match up at 2 sets each; the momentum had swung. Now down to the 5th and decisive set, first to 15, but it was more like first to 5, still tied. A timeout, both teams tied at 9. Fortunately, the Lady Cavs made a run and extended their lead to 14-10. Another timeout, Coach Hannah will tell you, she was extremely emotional to the point of tears. You know all the hard work, all the hours, all the repetition, all the drills performed over and over and over again was about to pay off. As the final point was deflected off their opponent, you could see the raw emotion take over. The dogpile, the hugs, the pure joy of performing in the moment. Knowing a point here or there, and the tide is different.
This takes us to a recent Friday night, playing a crosstown rival once again, now in the 2nd Rd. of the GHSA State Playoffs, win or go home time. Tied up 7-7 late in the game, and a 37 yard field goal hanging in the balance for the Cavaliers. As the ball sailed inside the left upright, Calvary took what would be the final lead it needed. He has probably kicked that 100 times this year in practice, and it went through.
Once again, what is pressure? Stadium full of people with the game on the line, packed gym for a State Championship? Or is it the moments when nobody is watching? Making life decisions. I have always believed that Sports is the last great reality show going. Instant success and failure. How we handle those moments forges our character for later in life. What are you going to do when you don’t have a dollar in your pocket? What about that class you have to make an A in to keep a scholarship? What about when you get married, have kids? Talk about pressure, just wait. But I firmly believe our teachers, coaches and staff are doing everything possible to prepare these Cavaliers for all the above in life.