“The Road to Paradise” outline

1982 Castle Knights State Championship Trophy

Chapter  13: Greatness Never Leaves

THE PLAYERS AND COACHES of the 1982 Indiana state AAA football champion Castle Knights would go their own ways. Years would pass. Five years, then ten, then 20, then 30. Many would go onto even more greatness on fields far removed from the gridiron. Some would stumble. Some would seek to escape the glare of their moment of glory. Some would die before they could finish their journey.

To a man, the players and coaches of that team don’t speak of their championship season in a blustery, “we kicked their butts” manner. Instead, they speak of it with a reserved respect, understanding what they accomplished and the good players and teams they had to beat to get there.

Some have put their championship rings away, some still wear them daily, some have even put directions in their wills to be buried with them.

Life has taught them that nothing lasts forever. It has given them what they wanted and taken from them things they once valued important. It has made them realize that we don’t usually comprehend the most significant moments of our lives as they are occurring. It takes time and the wisdom and reflection of age to fully understand that moments of greatness, while seemingly fleeting, never leave us.

Through it all, however, they learned something a coach once told them in a sweaty and jubilant locker room — that a state championship could never be taken away no matter what life would throw at them.

And most importantly, perhaps, they learned that in life as in football when push comes to shove the answer is being in the proper state of mind.

Next Chapter 14: The Circle of Life

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