A Look Back at Falcon Athletics
As 2020 comes to an end I think that all of us will take a few extra moments to reflect upon what will certainly be a year to remember. For many of us reflecting back will force us to dwell on all of the negative things that occurred and be excited for the year to finally come to an end. As I reflect back on 2020 I would like to remember all of the things that we as Falcons accomplished during the past 12 months and all of the life lessons that we were able to learn together along the way. There have been so many opportunities to feel disappointment, sadness and of course loneliness over the past year. Those are all real things that we all felt and made much of the year extremely difficult to navigate.
Let’s take a look back through 2020 and celebrate all of our athletic accomplishments, individual growth and character building opportunities as well as all of the life lessons that we learned together that will make this past year such an important year for the future success of all of us as Falcons.
Many of our veterans would tell us, 2020 was just another opportunity to “Embrace the Suck”. This is a term that is used to remind those in the military to consciously accept or appreciate something that is extremely unpleasant but unavoidable for forward progress. Finding the silver lining in 2020 is easier to find than you may think if you simply take the time to remember nothing in life is guaranteed and life is what you make once you set your mindset to overcoming adversity. Let’s reflect on our lessons on perseverance, resilience and most importantly gratitude that will help develop all of us as better individuals as we come out of 2020.
January 2020 came in with an extreme amount of cold weather and snow giving us all a few snow days early on. We would soon trade those snow days back in for the chance to spend time together with our teammates, classmates and coaches. Our girls’ varsity basketball team led the way with an undefeated 14-0 season in the inaugural season of the new Lorain County League. Winning the first LC8 championship of 2020. The Varsity Wrestling team followed suite in February as they took home the LC8 Tournament Championship behind a dominate performance by the most decorated wrestler in Firelands Falcon history, Payton Burgdorf. Payton continued his dominance in the month of February as he became a Sectional and District Champion at 126lb only giving up a single point during his 8-0 journey to becoming the schools only 4 time OHSAA State Qualifier. That’s is when things took a bit of a turn and the “new normal” was ushered into all of our lives. While the Wrestling State Championships were cancelled, Payton was awarded the Division II 126lb OHSAA Virtual State Champion. All things considered, we’ll take it.
From that point on we were not able to get back together as Falcons and restart athletics until June 2nd. That meant our spring sports were cancelled and we were not able to see our boys track team defend its conference championship, or baseball team make a run in the state tournament, or see what could easily have been the most talented softball team in school history take the diamond for one last season.
June 2nd was like Christmas morning as it had been over 100 days since last time teammates gathered and trained together looking to bring individual and team success to the Falcon community. Seeing our athletes in person and hearing them banter with one another flashing their smiles under their masks reminded not only myself, but all of the coaches that were able to work with our athletes why we do what we do. Providing these student athletes the opportunity get back to some sort of “normal” is all that we set out to do, and the 120+ kids that signed up for summer strength and conditioning showed their commitment. No matter the protocol or procedure that we threw at these kids they adapted and adjusted to anything that was needed to continue the course and get back to competition.
Once fall sports were given the green light and we put back on the red, white and black our athletes showed that their preparation and perseverance proved the difference. The boys varsity soccer team were crowned Champions of the LC8. While the girls’ varsity soccer team, varsity football team, varsity golf team and varsity volleyball team all finished 2nd in the LC8. Competing for conference championships is always a goal in Firelands Athletics. Accomplishing this success while coming off the most unique pre-season ever was something our athletes, coaches, parents and community can be very proud of. In spite of all of the turmoil happening all around our world, our football team used this opportunity to come together and have the most successful season in school history winning two OHSAA Playoff games and finishing the season 8-2. Not having a full complement of fans during this run was difficult, but I never heard a complaint from parents, only gratitude when they had the opportunity to watch their child compete. If nothing else this pandemic taught all of us to never take for granted the opportunity to compete, practice, perform and cheer as a Falcon.
As we slowly begin to return to the “old normal” in the coming months I will never forget the many opportunities to demonstrate great character in the face of adversity. 2020 never seemed easy, but it felt so rewarding reaching our goals under the circumstances. As the leader of Firelands Athletics for the past 5 years I have never been more proud of our coaches, parents, staff and of course the athletes for being, what I felt, was the best community at adapting to change. Change is the one constant that we all have in our lives. Those that adapt and adjust to change and adversity in our daily lives will be the individuals that find the most success throughout their lives. If 2020 taught us nothing else let’s remember the lessons of gratitude, perseverance and resilience that we learned as a Falcon Athlete over the past 12 months. I am truly grateful and honored to serve each and every one of you the make up The Lands and look forward to continued success in Falcon Nation in the years to come.