Growing up a Green Bay Packers fan is more than wearing the Green and Gold and knowing the history of the team, it is about heart and spirit. Sometimes we forget that this is just a game and that in the end it means very little in the grand scheme of things. Yet, every now and then there is a story that comes along that tugs at our heartstrings and puts to shame the selfishness and greed that we see so often in professional sports.
We are fortunate (for the most part) that our team is void of self-serving egomaniacs. We see reminders of the good that Aaron Rodgers, Donald Driver and Coach Mike McCarthy have done in this community. We applaud them for their actions and name them MVP and shower them with accolades. In many ways they deserve it for they have accomplished a lot for the greater good.
Yet as I write this, I can say with all seriousness that none of these men come close to to what I saw in this video. I ask that you first watch it before you read any further. Some of you may not agree with me and that is fine. Some may see what I see and will understand my feelings. So please take a moment to watch this.
Pretty powerful on many different fronts.
A coach willing to risk victory to make one young man’s wish come true. The actions of one young man, contrary to all that is held in sports, to do what was right and finally a dream fulfilled. In an age of multi-million dollar contracts, Jonathan Montanez, a senior at Franklin High School in El Paso, Texas, and Coach Peter Morales, at Coronado High School in El Paso, Texas, did not care about winning at all costs. They cared about doing the right thing.
They put the integrity of the game and doing what was right before anything else. They put the dreams of Mitchell Marcus ahead of winning and losing. To watch Montanez call to Marcus, pass him the ball and give him the opportunity to make the shot proved to me that sportsmanship still lives and thrives. I was also impressed with the other members of the Franklin High School team who allowed Marcus his one last opportunity to fulfill his dream. What took place was greater than any game or any championship.
I was amazed when Coach Morales said that he “was prepared to lose that game, ‘for (Marcus’s) moment in time.'” In today’s win-at-all-cost mentality, words like that are never spoken in sports today.
In the end, Mitchell Marcus made his shot and his school rushed the floor and hoisted him on their collective shoulders. Not because he won the game, but because he represented everything that is true, honest and good about sports. He played the game for the love of it, not for a trophy or an award, not for money or fame. He played because that was what was in his heart.
So you may ask what does that have to do with the Packers and football. Well it has nothing to do with it, yet it has everything to do with it. The Combine is wrapping up and the talk of who to draft and why is at the forefront of every story being penned. We hear of the Manti Te’o, Alec Ogletree and Tyrann “Honey Badger” Mathieus of the Combine and see all the press they get for all the wrong reasons. Lying, drunk driving and drug use is their badge of dishonor, yet in the end they will, in all likelihood, get millions of dollars for all the wrong reasons.
Here is what I would love to see happen. The money that NFL players like these three will probably get should go to schools like Franklin High School and Coronado High School in the form of a scholarship that rewards these schools, their coaches and players like Montanez for their actions and deeds.
I am calling out every would-be professional player who is about to hit paydirt and honor the integrity of the game they play by honoring the actions of coaches like Peter Morales and players like Jonathon Montanez. I dare you to take your precious signing bonus and reward the actions of kids like this with a scholarship or provide the funds to improve the athletic department where schools like this put honor and integrity above winning at all costs.
I have joked about getting paid $20 million to write these articles, but I will say this. I would gladly give a salary of that amount to the players and coaches of the two schools in the video above. I would gladly put scholarships together to honor Coaches like Peter Morales and players like Jonathon Montanez and Mitchell Marcus, before I would give a dollar to college athletes like Te’o, Ogletree and Mathieus.
I would rather have Te’o, Ogletree and Mathieus watch this video and then get up in front of every reporter and news agency and profess what they truly feel after watching that video and then put their money where their mouth is. I would love to have Greg Jennings look at every camera and say that the money is not important after watching this video. But in the end, I know that the power of the almighty dollar is what drive men like them to play the game. Sadly, along the way they forgot that what was important was to play the game for the love of it.
I applaud the young men in the video. I applaud them for playing the game they love with all their heart and for putting integrity, honor and sportsmanship above all else. No matter what happens, you are the true champions and you deserve the accolades and honor that come with that.
You truly exemplify all that is right about sports and sportsmanship and you are the true representation of sportsmanship of which the Te’os, Ogletrees, Mathiues can only dream.