In a land not so far away


            Once upon a time they came with their backpacks, loaded with books, to a land not so far away.

            Yes. To a school but they sought a special field where a new football team would be born.

            They were used to carrying lots of school books but it was those extra ones that made their bags so heavy.

            One book was titled, Doubt, by a new author, M.I.S Trust. The story line was that you couldn’t trust anyone other than those from your home town. Players. Coaches. It didn’t matter. If they weren’t from “here,” they couldn’t be trusted because they simply didn’t understand. No way would I get a fair shake. I knew that my coach would do me right. But him? No way.

            One of the thickest books stuffed in the bulging bag was Favoritism, by U. R. Mine. Like Doubt, the premise was that if the coach wasn’t from my hometown, he would of course favor the player from his school, regardless of my ability. I wouldn’t have a chance. Besides, I hear he doesn’t like my hometown or anyone from it.

            In the bottom of the bag was another tome entitled, It’s All About Me, written by Union Daily Times best selling author I. M. It.

            The “hero” was a young football player, Tom, who had been told since his first memory of playing football, that he was The One. The rest of the guys were there to make him look good. It was his name that the papers always highlighted. Lots of pictures too. Coaches, fans, people on the street were always giving him high fives. Tom was something special. It was all about him, not what was best for the team.

            The last of the books was the heaviest of all.

            But it wasn’t about sports.

            They was about communities and embodied some of the same themes in the other books.

            The central figure was a character called “They.” They could be either male or female. Almost always an adult. Oddly, They was an amorphous character. One who was everywhere but nowhere.

            Sure. They had been around a very long time. Even back in grandpa’s and grandma’s day. Maybe even before that. No one really knew. According to the book, They could never be trusted and always seemed so “superior.” Oddly, at times They seemed to relish conflict and at times seemed so insular.

            Readers might recognize the name of the popular authors, M. I. Family and T. H. E. Neighbors.

            It was mandatory reading for too many families in the land not so far away.

            But a funny thing happened on the way to the football field.

            The kids dumped their bags on the sidelines and grabbed a football.

            Over the weeks and months, Doubt was replaced by a new book, Trust.

            Favoritism was chucked in favor of another popular book, Confidence.

            It’s All About Me was discarded in favor of the most popular book of all, Becoming One, by another Union County author, I. T. S. Us.

            And the book, They, filled the dumpster. No one read it.

            Those other books weren’t very popular with the players anyhow. This was about football. And they wanted to win.  

            They had new coaches. Players from three communities. Old traditions abandoned. New ones started.

            But the one tradition that really mattered was winning.

            So they wrapped their hearts and arms around that tradition, became one, and went to their Upper State Championships their first year.

            A great story written in a land not far away.

            Forty-four teams began the journey in August. Four remained 11 days ago and one of them was Union County .

            And being tied for third in the state ain’t shabby.

            In so doing, this remarkable team of young men and their coaches became best selling authors: T.E.A.M – Together Everyone Achieves More, written by the 2007 Union County Yellow Jackets.

            It’s a must read for a lot of adults.

            In a land not so far away.


© Paul L Davis, 4 Dec, 2007


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