Environmental Services Director
Being part of a team can have many different layers to it. There are captains on every team, but the good ones know that their team members are necessary for them to become great.
I was part of a football team in high school that hadn’t won a varsity game for multiple years. As my team entered its senior year, we were determined to break that losing streak. The first game of the year was away and against West Fargo. Of course, we weren’t picked to win, but, sure enough, we came together and provided Mandan with its first varsity football win in a few years.
We maintained that winning streak until the fourth game of the season. We didn’t make the playoffs that year, but we did help set a tone for success for the football teams that followed us.
One interesting thing I remember is that we received helmet stickers after each game. The stickers were awarded to the players who excelled either in offense or defense during the game. Football stickers were given as offensive awards, and tomahawk stickers were given as defensive awards.
I played strong safety on defense and was fortunate to be awarded several tomahawk stickers over my career. I also received quite a few football stickers, even though I didn’t play a down of offense.
Let me explain: I was the long snapper for field goals and extra points. That’s right — all 140 pounds of me were in the middle of the line for fieldgoal and extra-point attempts. I was part of a great three-person kicking team that included Kurt, the holder, and Jason, the kicker. Jason was the best around at his position. In fact, he missed very few throughout the year, and went on to have an excellent collegiate career, kicking his way into many record books and, eventually, getting some looks by National Football League scouts.
Thirty years later, that three-person kicking team remains close friends, and Jason acknowledges that his success was made possible with the help of his holder and snapper. A successful team doesn’t happen by chance; it takes every member to make it great.
A while back, NDSA President Warren Zenker’s wife Linda noticed him standing on the bathroom scale, sucking in his stomach. She laughed and said, “You know that’s not going to help.” “Sure it will,” he said. “It’s the only way I can see the numbers.”