There are special moments in life that are remembered forever because guts were spilled for them. The more guts spilled, the longer the moment is remembered. This was one of those moments.
There was nothing to post, nothing to text, no one to call. There was no Facebook, no cell phones, no Twitter, no mindless distractions. Just full immersion in the moment, full immersion in the work, full immersion in the meaning, full immersion in the purpose. No glory-seekers changing profile pics to draw attention to self. Word spread the natural way â€“ face to face.
October 31, 1985 4:15 pm. Four zeroes on the clock. Game over. End of a perfect season 10-0. SOSSA Zone 3 champs. Port Colborne High School 16, Lockview High School 13. Down 13-0 at halftime against a powerful Lockview team, Port Colborne High School staged a miracle comeback with 16 unanswered points in a 4th quarter rally while shutting down Lockviewâ€™s powerful offense. My second season as head coach was the opposite of my first â€“ winless to undefeated in one year. Reason? Full immersion. A year-long full focus and full commitment by a team of only 25 players that was given no chance of surviving just two months earlier. A team that had been at risk of folding due to lack of interest. School officials asked me to consider folding the team at the beginning of September. I refused. Even though we only had 25 players, they had lifted all off-season after our winless nightmare in 1984. I built a gym in the basement of my home. The original X Fitness. It became our team headquarters.
My players lifted heavy, lifted intensely, and lifted consistently. Hardcore workouts were the solution to the mess of our winless season in 1984. The Power of Working Out is transformational â€“ mind, body, soul. Imagine a weight room with no cell phones, no iPods, no zombie-like stares at screens to read who is mad, who is sad, and all thatâ€™s fucked up in the world. That was our weight room – business, workmanlike, no bullshit, hardcore. Full of passion. Full immersion. The reward was a championship ring. A 10-0 season is not easy. A lot of guts have to be spilled on and off the field. But the lessons are worth it. It has to be experienced to be believed. It was proof of the limitless potential of messed up teen-agers and the limitless capacity to change screwed up attitudes. Each one transformed, without exception. Not one player acted like an asshole ever at practice of during any game or at any workout in my basement gym.
Itâ€™s fitting that this anniversary falls on a day with the most fucked-up sport headlines imaginable. Go to any sports website today and read the bullshit about the head-cases dressed up as professional athletes, who fans and media glorify and worship. The NFL Network was on at my gym, X Fitness, last night. I changed the channel because it was depressing. A soap opera. Three-ring circus. The me-first selfishness of athletes who have been treated like royalty since little-league is a disrespect to the concept of sport. Iâ€™m blessed to have experienced 1985 because without it, I would be hopelessly jaded about sports. Iâ€™ve had a front row seat to the true meaning of sports. Iâ€™ve had ringside seats to the behind-the-scenes working out that very few would commit to. Iâ€™ve been an eyewitness to gut-spilling that restored my faith in sports and humanity. I am blessed to have been a part of Oct 31, 1985. It was an eternal moment, one that I am grateful to have shared with a group of student-athletes who will be bonded for life by a transcendent experience. 1985 was a consciousness-raising year. Thank you to each one of my players. #Centâ€™Anni
Gino Arcaro M.Ed., B.Sc., NCCP Level 3
Head coach â€“ Niagara X-men football
Owner â€“ X Fitness Inc.
Gino Arcaro is a widely published author. His website, blog, Youtube channel, and list of books are at: www.ginoarcaro.com