I received this message from a teammate last week:
I love what you have going on with Lee football. Thank you for sharing. It’s a great tool for me to use with my boys because of the role that program played in shaping me into who I am. I’m sure it’s the same for all of us that played together. Thanks John, (#80).
– Jason, #82
No matter where a player fell on the depth chart, speak to him today and he’ll likely express the same sentiment. It’ll come from the top player on the team to one who never played a snap – truth is, not every player on the team gets the opportunity to make an impact on the field. Every person has shortcomings. Every coach has shortcomings. But there is one thing that coaches Spike Dykes, Earl Miller, Van Tom Whatley and all the assistants at Midland Lee back in the ’80s did flawlessly. It is something that they never failed at – their winning percentage is 100%.
If you’re a former Rebel, you know where I’m heading with this.
If you’re a current player, all indications point to your coach James Morton following the same path.
Those coaches formed nice young boys into extraordinary young men. I haven’t spoken to any of them in decades so I don’t know if it was by design or a by-product of a training program designed to win football games. It worked, though – we won football games and I became a person who will take on a challenge and never quit. I’ve written before that I have spent countless overnight hours in newspaper buildings working to meet deadlines. I’ve also written that I have never missed a deadline in 15 years.
Somehow we all became people who can tap into a reserve that was created when we were sixteen and seventeen years old.
Since I created this web site, I’ve received numerous messages from former players thanking me for what I’m doing. They love reading about the Rebels twenty and thirty years later. They’re proud to be part of the program.
I’m not congratulating myself, I just want to explain how Rebels stay Rebels.
I spoke about the program to a few player’s parents and I try to express this to as many of them as I can:
In the scheme of high school football, playing at Midland Lee is a big frickin’ deal. This is a world-class program with a rich tradition and a pedigree of players that have done things on the field that you would have to have seen to believe. In my estimation, every top-tier high school and college football coach knows about Midland Lee. I’d be surprised if there is one NFL football coach who hasn’t heard about this football team.
This won’t be the last time I write these words, you may have heard them before. If you were on this team, there’s something special about you. If you faced the training and practice sessions at Lee and didn’t quit, you’re different from everybody else. If you’re on the team now, understand that this is not a typical football team. Whether you’re a player, parent or fan, understand that you’re witnessing something unique.
Understand also that football ain’t life, but Midland Lee football has prepared a whole bunch of young men for it.
And if you don’t know, now you know.