‘Keep calm and carry on’ a smart mantra for teams

Published 6:55 am Thursday, August 24, 2017

There’s a fairly popular meme that’s made its way around the internet and T-shirt shops in recent years. The message is simple: “Keep calm, and carry on.”

The idea is, of course, not to freak out at the first sign of trouble or success. Chill out, stay the course, and weather the storm or keep doing what worked.

It’s a notion that high school football teams in Mississippi need to keep in mind as they transition from the hype of Week 1 into the real start of the season in Week 2.

For St. Aloysius and Vicksburg High, who lost their openers last week, keeping calm and carrying on means not panicking. Both teams had things go sideways at various points in the game, and things that flat out did not work. There might be an urge to radically alter game plans and systems, when in reality they’d be better served to fine tune the ones already in place.

“That’s where experience comes in,” said St. Al head coach Michael Fields, who has been through this plenty of times in his nearly 30 years in the business. “With experience, you realize you just have to get better at what you’re doing. If you make a lot of changes right now, you’re doubting your team and the team starts doubting you.”

Keeping calm and carrying on carries a different tone for Porter’s Chapel and Warren Central, which both won their season openers. For them, the key is to keep a level head rather than panicking.

PCA had an outstanding night in its 48-0 win over Columbus Christian, but must recognize that there are much tougher games ahead — like this week’s district matchup with Riverfield, for starters.

Warren Central started slow before rolling to a 28-3 win over Clarksdale. Like PCA, the Vikings now have a difficult road game against Pearl, last year’s Class 6A runner-up and this year’s preseason No. 1, looming this Friday night. Archrival Vicksburg is up next week, and Louisiana power Neville comes to town after that. And that’s just the non-region schedule.

So, to all four teams, keep calm and carry on. Have faith in what you’re trying to do, but be aware of where you’re messing up. All four teams seem good enough for it to work in the long haul, so don’t mess it up by panicking and changing things for a short-term gain.

It’s a hard character trait to have in sports, especially when fans are ready to hit the reset button after one or two losses, but it’s one that’s absolutely necessary to possess to be successful.

Ernest Bowker is a sports writer for The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at ernest.bowker@vicksburgpost.com

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured sports reporters in the paper's 137-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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