As has been the case often and with excellent reason in this newspaper in recent days, I, too, offer congratulations to the players, coaches and families of the Norwich Free Academy football team. Thank all of you for not only a terrific season of football but for providing Norwich some teachable off-field life lessons we should be able to use everyday.
The Wildcats' NFA football team is a wonderful example of combining ability, heart and skill with a plan to succeed and the will to execute that plan. Everyone connected to the NFA football program did more than just 'love' football or 'want' to win. They understood there would be sacrifices needed and necessary to achieve both the team's long term goals, playing for a state championship as well as interim milestones, measured in successful practices and victories during the regular season.
They had a plan that not only kept them focused and fixed on that long-term goal on the horizon where they wished to go but also served as a tool to measure their incremental progress on the gridiron and their process for achieving what they set out to do.
Their plan was flexible enough to accommodate change because of an opponent's propensity or a game-day circumstance but also robust enough that they never lost sight of their purpose and their pledge to one another. They were the epitome of the word "team," all season long in victory and most especially in displaying grace and class following their loss Friday evening.
Unlike other teams I, and you, can think of, though not any who play on artificial or natural surfaces, unless you consider municipal buildings to be one or the other, they owned every moment of their season and every action they took or chose to not take.
At no time did anyone associated with the team offer an alibi masquerading as a reason or any form of an excuse or push and shove one another out of the spotlight of fan adulation. I can only hope the rest of us were paying attention.
Next season will be here soon enough. Some of this year's outstanding players will graduate in the spring but their places will be taken by new faces with different talents but with the same hunger. More importantly, the method that produced this season's consistent excellence is in place and has proven itself so fans should anticipate talented youngsters delivering their effort, according to plan, towards clearly defined goals.
Speaking of plans, tonight at six in Council chambers in City Hall, the Commission on the City Plan unveils the 2012 Plan of Conservation and Development, the road map to what's next in Norwich and the blueprint for success necessary to complement all that wishful thinking and hoping for better days that far too many of us seem to think is leadership. It isn't. Ask people who have filled trophy cases the secret to their success and they'll tell you it's no secret at all. Just plan your work and work your plan. Hope to see you tonight at six.