Commitment to a Dream

De La Salle jersey

I can remember freshman year, and I don’t think I’ll quickly forget, my defensive back coach making it clear to me I couldn’t hit.

And if you can’t hit, you sure as heck can’t play football.

From then on I made a commitment to myself to prove him and everyone else wrong. While he was right about my performance, he was wrong about my ability and my commitment.

This promise I made to myself drove me to give full effort on everything we did. Another coach and close friend told me that same year that football may not be my calling, and if not, he would be just as proud to see me play baseball, but if I wanted to play football, he promised to work with me as much as he could after practice to hone my game. He gave me my first look at what it meant to commit oneself to a goal and to work towards it no matter what seems to stand in the way.

While I didn’t always finish first, make the most plays, or even look the best, I always gave it my best, determined to achieve the goals I had set for myself.

At the end of that very long season, at the football team dinner, my father told a good friend of mine that I may decide not to play next year. My friend was shocked and asked my father, “Where is he? I’ll make sure he plays. He’s gotta play next year.”

Sure enough, later that night, my friend made me promise to play football the following year. At the time, this promise seemed to hold little importance, but it ended up being one of the major factors that encouraged me to play, and drove me to get better each game.

After deciding that a lot of me did, in fact, want to play, the promise I had made to a close friend gave me an extra kick in the butt to simply go for it. At that point, not only had I made a promise to myself to be the best football player I could be, I had also made a commitment to a teammate to do so.

For me, this was a big step – keeping commitments to myself and to others.

Commitments made to others on the team form the basis of Spartan football. Whether it’s something as simple as the unspoken rule of not drinking soda, to something as important as making your block so the runner can score in a big game, commitment is what makes the team flourish.

The more football I played for De La Salle, the more I realized the value of these commitments. 

  • A commitment in the weight room to always compete with another player pushes me to constantly get stronger and lift harder.
  • A commitment to my quarterback to give it everything I have to catch what he throws my way forces me to think outside myself and focus on simply catching the football, reinforcing the trust we have with one another.
  • A commitment to a close friend to make plays that only he thinks I am capable of making, drives me to play with excitement, something that is essential in this game. 

Whether it’s running the next “gasser” or studying for a final, the commitments made to those whom struggle alongside you are the ones that fuel you to keep going. The determination not to let someone down is stronger than most people think. In this way, a commitment to another whom I respect and whom I am willing to sacrifice for ensures I can achieve what I set out to do and much more.

Commitment cards

Editor's note: Declare a commitment to your dreams
The De La Salle Spartans football team knows achieving dreams takes dedication. At the start of every season, players fill out commitment cards declaring what they will accomplish during the coming months. It’s an approach you, too, can take as a first step to achieving your dream. Get started now by downloading a commitment card, just like the ones the Spartans use. Then, snap a picture of your declaration and share it with your friends – and use the #longlivedreams hashtag – so they can help keep you motivated. 

Then catch “When the Game Stands Tall” – in theaters Aug. 22 – for the story behind De La Salle’s trek from perennial sub-.500 performances to undisputable national powerhouse. It’s a journey filled with hard work, dedication – and a commitment to a grand vision.

“Winning is just a by-product of many, many short-range goals that must be accomplished along the way.” – De Le Salle High School football coach Bob Ladouceur

by Matt DeVincenzi on Tue, Aug 26 2014 11:00 am
Posted by Matt DeVincenzi on Tue, Aug 26 2014 11:00 amMatt DeVincenzi is a student at De La Salle High School in Concord, Ca.


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