The mid October air was crisp Saturday morning. The players were full of energy and ready to take on anything.
The Panthers did drills in the back of the field while the team waited to play the Miami Ravens, a team whose banner seems to look straight at you with it’s piercing red eyes. Anger and pain seem to come over your body when you look at it.
Heart and determination are two words the Panthers don’t hold lightly. In fact, if someone were to summarize the type of team the Miramar Panthers are, they have just that: heart and determination.
Everyone was ready, so the referee blew his whistle to start the game! Right after the kick the Panthers seemed to dominate. They made a lot of yards making any opposing team fearful. However the Panther’s upper hand did not last long when the Ravens decided to start playing dirty. Hoping the referees would call the many fouls taking place, the Panthers kept playing like true sportsmen.
Just a little into the second quarter, the Ravens started to get a little more physical, literally hitting and punching the other team. Some of the Panther’s parents started yelling at the referees: “Did you see that blind man! Will someone get Ray Charles off the field!”
During half time the coaches and parents motivated the many players telling them, “[The Ravens] are playing dirty because they are intimidated by you! They know they can’t win if they don’t play dirty! Don’t take that crap from them, stand up for yourself and fight back!”
During the next half some of the players would come off the field looking frustrated. Almost every play another Panther’s player was badly injured. They had enough of being shoved around. They weren’t going to take it. If the referees weren’t going to say anything, they would have to.
As the third quarter neared its end, one of the Raven players sacked a Panther and started punching him on the ground like a punching bag. The Panther parents and couches were outraged! They were yelling at the top of their lungs! How could the referees stand by and not make any calls? Then more Panthers stood up to their opponents and started to push them back off their teammates. But the Raven’s wouldn’t have that. They started fighting back; suddenly both teams seemed to be in a full on fight.
Not long after, most of the coaches and even parents of both teams ran to the middle of the field to stop this quarrel. But like the saying goes, never grab a dog by the ears, because after the fight was broken up it seemed the parents and coaches started to fight amongst themselves. Suddenly five policemen calmly walked to the center of the field to calm down both sides and get everyone back to their senses.
It was now the end of the third quarter and both teams were hot. The fight seemed to wake the referees up, or at least give them some much needed “eye sight” to start making fair calls. The last quarter was played like a real football game, with much heart and determination.
In the end it didn’t seem to matter who won. It was a battle out there, and both teams learned what it meant to stick up for their fellow man, what it meant to stand up for yourself, and not get pushed around. They learned what it means to play with heart and determination. They learned to never give up, and play putting their best foot forward. True football was played out there that Saturday afternoon, and those boys learned what it meant to be a man.