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Being thankful for football

November 21, 2012 - As Thanksgiving approaches, we can all recall things to be thankful for. This year, one of the things I am grateful for is my accidental football fandom, because it allowed me to appreciate the truly wonderful thing that is the Lake Orion football program.

Please note that I am not a blind believer—every program has flaws, including Lake Orion. That said, it takes a special kind of program to make every single player feel like they are a part of the team, whether they are a starter or an nth string player that rarely, if ever, receives play time.

My brother is of the latter variety, the breed of football player that shows up at every single camp and practice, dedicated to the bone through thick and thin. He is not the only player of his kind in Lake Orion, but his kind can only exist in a program like Lake Orion—a program that creates a team valuing every player and always makes that perfectly clear. To Lake Orion, every player matters. Everyone has a role, whether they are a starter or one of the legions that support the starters.

This is what gives the Dragon football team their magic, their level of success. The team has a degree of togetherness that other teams may lack, a degree of support that other teams are wanting. With this the Dragons could take the world on. They gained their 11-2 record with it, made it to the playoffs with it.

As one of the many Lake Orion family members on the field at the Cass Tech game on Saturday, Nov. 17, I can say with utmost honesty that watching our beloved Dragons lose was a terrible blow, and I can also say that it is heart wrenching to see their magic carpet ride come to an end. That said, the Dragons should not be at all ashamed of what they achieved this season. Most high school teams only dream of making it to the state playoffs, much less the semifinals. In addition, most teams are far less of a team than the Dragons.

Most teams do not have the unity the Dragons have always had in the four years my brother was a member, do not have the level of commitment and the genuine love of their game. Few teams can be honestly defined as a family, but that is the best word to describe this Dragon team. The season may be over, but the Dragons will remain a football family, and those seniors graduating alongside my brother can look back on their experience with pride. They were a part of something incredibly special.

This Thanksgiving season, I am thankful those boys, my brother among them, had their sweat and tears repaid with the experience of a lifetime. They got to be a part of a special kind of team, and I am thankful that we all got to ride along with them on a journey none of us will ever forget.

Olivia Shumaker

Orion Township Resident

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