Published on December 8th, 2013 | by Staples Soccer0
Read Jack Scott’s Banquet Speech
In an evening of heartfelt banquet speeches, Jack Scott’s stood out. Here is what the 2013 co-captain said:
Some may be aware of this and some may not, but before even coming to Staples I was already cast in a shadow, seemingly too deep to ever break out of. My brother, Mikey Scott, was a state champion, a 3-time FCIAC champion, and proud owner of the most dangerous and deadly long throws Staples soccer has ever seen. Need I mention he was also the captain of his state champion ski racing team, and All-State on his FCIAC champion baseball team? He set the bar unbelievably high for his younger brother to even dare attempt to match.
Luckily, Staples soccer was my first experience of high school, since tryouts started the weekend before the 1st day of school. As a clueless freshman, the one thing I was most excited about was working on my 6-pack with all the insane workouts Chris O’Dell instructed us to do. I had no idea how valuable Staples soccer actually was.
O’Dell taught each and every one of us to work as hard as we possibly could every time we stepped on the field. He loved his high school years, and made that clear to us from Day One. He wanted to make sure after 4 years we never looked back and said, “I wish I tried a little bit harder in this. I regret it.” His one message that has stuck with me since I first met him is “pain is temporary.” It meant that no matter how tired we were, or how sore our legs were, it was always going to be better the next day. That feeling of exhaustion was going to recover in a matter of hours, and therefore we simply had to push ourselves as hard as we possibly could. There was no reason not to. We always knew we were going to recover.
Early on I realized I was not going to shy away from my brother’s accomplishments. I set the goal to surpass his legacy and make my own. I wanted our last name to be remembered more for Jack than for Mikey.
As everyone from this team knows, I love winning more than anything. I can’t stand losing. I treated our soccer tennis games in practice as if they were the World Cup final. Regardless of how menial the drill was, I always wanted to win. It’s just the type of person I am. I’m that kid who always wanted to be first when we run sprints. Most people find that kid to be an obnoxious suck-up to the coaches. But everyone on this team didn’t view it like that. Every player on this team bought into that attitude. Every player on this team worked as hard as they possibly could, and because of that I can honestly say I’ve never had a better soccer season in my life.
Nobody gave us a shot to win anything this year. The FCIAC coaches predicted Ridgefield and Greenwich to be the two best teams. Easily. Staples was off everyone’s radar. Our teammates of past years laughed at us for losing to Harding. Some called it the most embarrassing moment for Staples soccer. Ever.
Instead of getting caught up in everyone else’s thoughts, this team came together and dedicated ourselves to our goal of winning a championship. We rattled off 6 straight wins and turned our season around in the blink of an eye. Dan dedicated himself to us like he always has, and believed in us more than anyone else. Kurt came up with ingenious game plans time and time again, and Tom inspired each and every one of us with his unbelievable intensity and commitment.
This team became a family over the course of our season. Not just the players, but the coaches as well. O’Dell even felt strongly enough to speak to us after our heartbreaking FCIAC loss to Wilton to tell us we could run the table. Just like he did freshman year, he inspired all of us to play as hard as we possibly could, not just for ourselves but for each other.
The state tournament didn’t last as long as we all would have liked but it was the greatest week or so of my life. Bar none. Although we didn’t pull off the state championship, I could see in every player’s and every coach’s eyes that we all truly believed we were going to win it all. The Norwalk game was as dramatic as it gets, and the Newtown game was a win unlike any other. Everyone wanted to win the tournament more than anything in the entire world. It was the only group of people I’ve ever been part of that put everything else aside, and devoted themselves completely to the goal we wanted. Homework didn’t matter. Girlfriends didn’t matter. Parties didn’t matter. The only thing we cared about was achieving our goal and winning a state championship.
No, we did not come home with medals and a trophy to show for it, but we came home with memories that will never be forgotten. I mean never. From the early morning workout sessions to the New Hampshire team bonding trip, I have never connected with a group of guys like this team. We had the greatest team chemistry of any team I’ve ever been a part of, or ever seen. I keep thinking I have another year, and thoughts about how to improve from this past season keep flowing into my brain. Having my Staples soccer career be officially over is a tough reality to accept, but I cannot say enough about how much this program and the people in it have affected me as a person.
So yes, I walk away from my Staples soccer career with no championships to my brother’s 4, but I can honestly say I had the best experience I could have possibly had. In my eyes at least, I did the very best I could to live up to the expectations I had of being Mikey Scott’s brother. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the Staples Soccer family I had behind me.
To every player and every coach that was there along the way, thank you so much for believing in this team that seemingly stood no chance. The look on Greenwich’s face after going up 1-0 on them will be a lasting image in my mind and I hope all of yours too. Thank you.