Friday, September 4, 2009

A Touching Tribute

It's Friday night...and that means high school football! Tonight was the first game of the year....and a convincing win for the Panther football team! Our Athletic Booster Club puts together a football program which is sold at the games, and every year it contains a letter to the fans from our head football coach/athletic director. Here is this year's letter:

"Dear Panther Fans:

Welcome to another exciting year of Panther football. Last year's team finished 8-4, and with the return of 12 seniors, this year should be another good one. The kids have been working hard since the beginning of July for Friday night football.

You may have noticed on the back of our helmets is a sticker with the letters "HS" and a gray ribbon. This is in honor of Hannah Sullivan who was promoted to heaven on February 26, 2009, from brain cancer. Hannah was a manager for the girls' basketball team and would have been a senior this year.

Instead of honoring the passing of Hannah, I would like for us to honor her life. She was my role model. As Hannah battled "her storm," three parts of her life stood out: her faith, belief, and love for God. The year-long battle only made these characteristics stronger in her life.

As I watched Hannah react in such a positive way to all this adversity in her life, I could only think how great it would be if the Panther football team could learn from Hannah and use these traits during the season. I challenge our players to have faith in one another and to work as a team and not as individuals.

I challenge the players to not only believe in their teammates, but also in the coaches and the many decisions they have to make during the season. Finally, I challenge the players to love their team despite any differences they may have.

I especially challenge the team to demonstrate these characteristics during the "rough times" of the game and the season. I encourage them to let their faith, belief, and love stay strong, and to continue to battle and be positive, no matter the outcome. Finally, I challenge the team not only to be like Hannah on the field, but also to model her life off the field.

I can't promise you, the fans, a state championship, or even a district championship if the team follows Hannah's example; however, I can promise you that at the end of the season we will be a better football team, better players, and most of all, better individuals! Panther Pride Runs Deep!

Thank you,

Coach Efird"

I have nothing else to add...Thank you, Coach.


Sherri Smith said...

What an amazing, beautiful tribute to Hannah and so kind and loving of Ronnie to do that. I am blessed to call him a friend and part of my church family.

Anonymous said...

Your family picture remains in front of me at the computer, so you are daily remembered and loved. What a wonderful way to start off the high school football team's year! We should all put Hannah as our inspiration. My motto has been "Live every day, fill every minute and go to bed tired." I know that is how you must be getting through all of this sorrow. Thank you Jill and Brad for sharing your hearts and lives with us. Dee Ludwig

PJ Pumphrey said...

That was beautiful! So nice of him. I think of you. and pray for you all often! Hannah was such an inspiration to us all!!!

Lori Harper said...

What a beautiful tribute to Hannah! Misti and Jerry were up this weekend helping with our house remodel and Misti said they were so excited to see Bethany at homecoming!