Chapter 102 – Ladder 49
Individual commitment to a group effort –
that is what makes a team work, a company
work, a society work, a civilization work.
If you’ve seen the movie, Ladder 49, you probably really enjoyed the high action film. I certainly enjoyed the action in the movie, but I loved the movie for a different reason. As a 44-year-old coach the days of my going to practice every day with my teammates are long gone. I miss being in the locker room and traveling on the team bus, eating on the road, spending the night in hotel rooms, and most importantly going to battle on the field together. Those days will go by for most of you in four years of high school. A select few of you will get another four years in college, and one in 100,000 of you may get to participate in professional sports. Some of you may play team tennis or adult softball or some other sport which will prolong your participation, but it’s not the same once you get out of organized sports.
What I loved about Ladder 49 was the camaraderie involved in being a fireman. Those firemen lived together; they shared their lives together, and bonded just like teammates. Their commitment to each other is even greater than that of a football team in that they’re not just playing a game; they’re risking their lives for each other and for the public. By coaching I feel like I get to have some relationship with the athletes and the other coaches, but Ladder 49 reminded me those beautiful years of time spent together on a team vanish quickly. Don’t waste the opportunity to give it your all and participate in sports while you have the chance. You will develop some of your greatest friendships during these times that will last a lifetime. I’ve always said your best friendships are forged when you’re doing battle together fighting for a common goal. I still know the people that I can truly count on in the crunch based on the way they responded when we played sports together and they are still my very closest friends.