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Today is a new day.
This season is a new season.
What happened yesterday happened, but it doesn't really matter anymore.
When I was getting ready for college, my dad gave me some advice that I have never given him thanks for, but it helped a lot.
“Do not wear your letter jacket to college,” he told me. “Nobody really cares what you did in high school.”
It seemed a bit harsh at first. I worked hard for that letter jacket. I lettered in three sports, band, and had my all-conference badges on the back. I was on top of my high school world, but he saw that it really didn't matter.
When I got to college, I realized every player on the teams that I was a part of was all-conference or all-district or all state, when they were in high school.
The players that were a little longer in tooth, on the verge of moving on from college into the professional world, could care less what I, a pathetic, 18-year-old-wet-behind-the-ears-pup, did in high school football.
I saw one player who wore his letter jacket for about a week in college, but I think he figured out that yesterday doesn't matter.
I think of that still today, and want to pass the same advice to all of the area athletes.
Today is a new day. Don't wear your letter jacket to college.
For the athletes who are making that leap from high school to college, remember that you are back on the bottom of the totem pole.
Think about when you were at your worst. Whether it was a freshman or in junior high, you have to remember how you had to work hard to catch up. College will probably be very similar to that feeling.
For those who have been second string or were playing junior varsity last season, it is a new year.
Shock everyone around you by stepping into that slot you have been waiting for and play every down like you should have always owned that spot on the team.
There is only one more month to train, so train to dominate an entire game.
For those who are moving up from either peewee to junior high or from junior high to high school, now is the time to jump in feet first.
In practice, you can start standing out to your coaches by hustling every play. There is nobody who can stop you from being the best, even if you are small.
Make the plays you aren't supposed to make, and when you get knocked down, be the first one back up and ready to try again.
I know from experience it is hard to hear nobody cares about what you did yesterday.
Almost every varsity player has already played junior high and junior varsity. They don't care what you did in those leagues. Make an impression on today.
Just about every college player has already experienced and forgotten more games and plays than a high school player has played.
Prove to them you belong.
This season is a new season. Leave your stories behind to impress your non-athletic friends, and leave an impression on today.
Lance Fleming is the sports reporter for the Red Oak Express. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.