Words of wisdom proved truthful by area team
by Bill Pocernich | November 29, 2005
This has been a miserable football season for the ‘glamour’ teams in Minnesota and Wisconsin. The Packers, already lacking overall talent, were hit with injuries and got off to a 2-9 start. The struggles of the Vikings have been well documented, and they continue to be one of the most underachieving teams in the last decade. The Gophers and Badgers have both had bright spots followed by disappointing losses which leave them short of their ultimate goals. However, in the small town of Cromwell, the ‘glamour’ team proved that substance over style wins out in the end, and they rode a magical wave down to the Metrodome.
I do not pretend to be an expert on football. I am a big fan of the sport, but, being a Wisconsin native, there is only one true expert on football and that is Vince Lombardi. Lombardi is famous for his success on the field and his words of wisdom off of it, many of which were exemplified by the 2005 Cardinals.
Lombardism #1: “The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.”
At the beginning of the football season, not a lot was expected of the Cardinals. Cromwell will always be looked at as a threat on the football field, but this version of the Cardinals lacked size and experience on the line and depth at nearly every position. However, one thing they did not lack was heart. This was proved over and over this season and was one of the biggest strengths of the team, allowing it to overcome other deficiencies.
Lombardism #2: “People who work together will win, whether it be against a complex football defense, or the problems of modern society.”
Coach Gronner is fond of saying that football is the ultimate team sport, a point which is difficult to argue. His team proved it this year. Time and again, when in need of a big play to turn momentum, someone stepped up. The beautiful thing about this team was that it was not always the same person. True, certain individuals put up big numbers and definitely made their share of big plays, but the team was more than that single person. Cromwell fans think of a number of different players who stepped up at various times this season to turn a tense situation around.
Lombardism #3: “Individual commitment to a group effort, that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”
Ask this year’s captains why they were successful, and somewhere on their list they will discuss the off season work the players did in the weight room and at passing camps. Without individual effort and commitment to improve, the team’s success would not have been possible.
Lombardism #4: “Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all the time thing.”
This year’s team was so enjoyable to watch for me because the players are such solid people. That starts with the senior leaders and works its way down. The players were positive and respectful from day one on the field and in the classroom; this is a testament to the captains and senior leaders.
Lombardism #5: “Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.”
Sadly, everyone woke up from the dream a little earlier than they would have liked. This season, perfection was not attained. What was attained was confirmation that good people, driven by a common goal and will, can maximize their abilities and potential and attain excellence. Unquestionably, the 2005 Cardinals attained that excellence. Hopefully, the next generation of Cardinals, who often hone their football skills on the practice field during varsity games, stopped long enough to watch the game and understand exactly how that excellence was attained. Being a Cardinal isn’t enough. Acting like one, as this year’s team did, will lead to excellence.
Congratulations and thank you, Cardinal coaches and players, for a magical season.
This article first appeared in the November 29, 2005 issue of the Voyageur Press.