Anthony McEachin said the number of football games that Enloe High wins this season has no impact on his self-worth or his long-term goals.
I know where I want to go and what I want to achieve, the Eagles junior running back said last Friday before Enloe fell to 0-10 with a 10-7 loss to Broughton.
Im a competitive person, and I want to win. I work as hard as I can. I love to play football. And it hurts when we lose. But losing a game is not going to keep me from getting to where I want to go. I am going to be a success in life.
McEachin believes he may have learned more life lessons by playing on a team struggling for wins than some players learn in more successful programs.
You dont quit when things are hard, he said. Youre not a failure if things dont go your way.
Other students offer little positive feedback they might ask how many points the team is going to lose by this week. McEachin said under different circumstances it might be hard to go back to practice on Monday knowing that a weeks effort might not make a big difference in the the next Friday night result.
Ive learned that youve got to have people with you, he said. If the only thing that you are focused on is winning, you can get in a mind set where youre only thinking about yourself. If you lose together, you become stronger together. You learn that you have to rely on one another. You cant win the game by yourself.
The season has been a disappointment. Optimism was high during the spring and summer workouts. McEachin remembers the excitement of success in summer 7-on-7 leagues.
We looked great, he said.
But some of the players expected back this year arent playing football this season.
If somebody decided not play, they didnt love playing as much as I do, McEachin said. Weve had some young players to step up and play well. The guys we have on the team are here because we love playing and we love each other.
The Cap Eight 4A Conference in which Enloe plays has turned out to be an incredibly strong league. Wakefield, Leesville Road, Millbrook, Wake Forest and Sanderson are among the areas best teams. The Eagles have been competitive in about four games this season, but were overwhelmed in other games.
In the loss to Broughton, the Eagles had touchdowns nullified by penalties. Enloe led 9-1 Wakefield at the half.
But we can play with those teams, said junior cornerback Freddie Brown, McEachins teammate. Things just havent worked out for us this year. But it just makes me want to work that much harder. If we are going to turn things around, were the ones who have to do it.
Enloe coach Mike Massey said he doesnt enjoy the losses. He has seen the players work hard in practice and in the offseason. He wishes the effort would be rewarded.
But in another sense, he has seen the players be rewarded.
High school athletics are designed to teach our students life lessons, Massey said. Sometimes lifes lessons are hard.