West Point Packers prepare to “Show up, and Show Out” and take the State Championship
By CHARLES WESLEY
The West Point Packers, at their practice on Dec. 8, were working hard to prepare for their next game. Winning this game will propel them into the state championship game.
The team, part of the Mississippi Gridiron Football League and made up of seven and eight year-old boys, have worked tirelessly to get this far. And from their performance in the past, they have an excellent shot at taking home the trophy.
But for these kids, it’s not just all fun and games. Many of these kids have had to work through much adversity to get where they are now.
“In order to be able to accomplish and be successful, you have to have the right mindset,” said, Willie Everson
Jr., one of the team coaches and a meteors of the players said as he addressed the team.
“You need the right mindset to push yourself through when you don’t want to play, when you’re hot, when you’re tired and hurt.”
And these kids have shown themselves capable of maintaining that mindset. In addition to challenges at home and school, the team itself had challenges to work through.
One of the players, affectionately referred to as “Tank,” suffered a broken leg earlier in the season.
“Tank is the heart and soul of this team,” said Everson.
And Tank proved that he was dedicated to the team. He arrived at the practice, still in his cast, to support his teammates.
Football is not however the only thing these boys are focused on. The coaches keep tabs on the boys and make sure they keep up with their grades in school. Most of the team are getting straight A’s at school, the ones that aren’t are A’s and B’s.
“We are concerned about football, but that’s not the most important thing,” said Everson.
“We know that 98 percent of these boys might not ever play football later in life, but they all will grow up to be what god made them, which is men.”
This sentiment was echoed by a surprise guest that came to the practice later.
Rod Bobo, Mayor of West Point, came to watch the boys practice for a few minutes.
“As hard as y’all practice to be good at football, and y’all go hard to be in the championship, right?” asked Bobo.
The team nodded and said that they had worked hard,
“You got to go just as hard in the classroom. Your grades have to be just as important to you as making sure you get those routes ran right, make sure you get your blocking schemes down… you got to go just as hard in the classroom.”
The mayor then asked who had all A’s. Nearly every member of the team raised their hand. Only three or four kids had below an A, but no one had below a B.
These boys have put in an amazing effort to get their team to where it is now. And to be able to do it without losing focus on their schoolwork and homelife is a testament to how great these kids are. People will definitely be watching these kids and expecting great things from them in the future.
Alberta Newspaper Group