Sam Wall
Comp I
Observation II
October 17, 2018
The Power Within

Some events in your life are unexpected. These unplanned incidents can be for the better
and unfortunately, for the worse. Life will knock you down at some point, but it’s your decision
to get back up. Pushing you to your limits, life will force you to make decisions that could affect
you for years. The ability to learn from your decisions or mistakes is vital to the growth of a
person. When life seems to never go your way, it’s truly your reaction that sets you apart from
the rest. Should you give up and walk away? Or should you keep fighting to hopefully gain some
ground?

The Maquoketa Valley football team were knocked down numerous times through the
duration of their season. They were forced with difficult situations and hard-fought loses but
hopped back up time after time. After losing their first six games of the year, it would be
effortless for this team to give up and loosely play out the rest of the season. Senior wide
receiver Daniel Hunter proudly stated, “I don’t think there’s ever been a time where we felt like
giving up this season. I think part of this is because we don’t want to let the community and our
school down. There’s so many younger kids looking up to us as well. Also, from a senior
standpoint, it’s our last season so we try to give it our all every game.” Daniel and the rest of the
squad have refused to throw in the towel no matter how tough the circumstances may be.

Despite simply playing the game, the senior competitors have more added to their plate.
Winning has been a tradition for the Maquoketa Valley football program with rarely having a
year with a losing record. The community, students, and even athletes’ expectations remain
prestigious; everyone expects an exceptional season. Because of that, the seniors have had to
uphold a critical role of rallying the troops night in and night out to keep their teammates’ spirits
up. Positivity is contagious and a vital aspect among a team. “We try to stay positive by looking
at the things that we have done well, and trying to just learn from the things we did wrong,”
senior quarterback, Norman Wilson, assured. “However, there are definitely people that are more
negative than others, which really makes it hard to keep everyone on the same boat,” sighed
Norman. Wilson faced another unique situation this season. This year he was asked to switch
from tight end to quarterback and also asked to kick extra points and field goals to aid his team.
Possessing some experience as a quarterback in his earlier years, this sudden change didn’t seem
as dramatic as it could’ve been. Being a true team player, Norman embraced the needed changes
to help his team.

Improvement began to show itself as the weeks went on. Maquoketa Valley opened
district play with Ed-Co, the top in the district. The Wildcats battled, making the game close
throughout the whole first half. However, their battle ended in a 7-21 loss to the Vikings. Despite
the loss, the Wildcats had shortened the loss deficit by over half of what they were previously
losing by. After Ed-Co, Maquoketa Valley traveled to MFL MarMac to take on the Bulldogs.
Building upon their one touchdown game versus Edo-Co, the Wildcats were able to put up
twenty-one points, and had a chance to win in the end. Losing in a heartbreaker only fueled the
Wildcats’ drive to succeed. Finally, after the long, grueling weeks of grinding, the Maquoketa
Valley football team won their first game of the season at home against Clayton Ridge. A storm
delay sounded in the opening minutes of the game with the Wildcats being down 7-0. This
circumstance would have dragged down any team, especially one with our record. However, the
boys remained exhilarated and positive throughout the hour and a half delay. As they took the
field, their enthusiasm and motivation was distinctly seen to pull off the win. Four different
Wildcats scored in this game, lifting Maquoketa Valley over Clayton Ridge in a thrilling 15-14
win.

The players uphold a strong desire to learn from their mistakes and build upon what they
had done wrong the week before. “With every game, we learn how to play football again; it’s
like a baby learning to walk,” Norman described. “We are just learning how to be more and more
physical every week,” he informs. The instant reward of winning a football game makes all the
grueling work and tough situations the seniors and the rest of the team had to go through this
season worth it.

The power of perseverance and dedication is key not only in the sport of football, but life
itself. The way the football team gets back up relentlessly after being forced down is a skill many
students should take note of. With their refusal to give up, their ability to remain positive, and
their improvement throughout the year, the football boys have a great chance to build upon their
previous win. Maya Angelou, an American writer and civil rights activist once said, “You may
encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter
the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of
it.”