Never say die

By: 
Sonja Karp, NLJ Sports Editor

If you’ve ever played, coached or watched sports, you have experienced a moment when an individual or a team seemed to have passed the point of no return, and there was little hope that they would be able to right their sinking ship to come out with a win.

And then they do.

One of the first examples that comes to mind of an amazing come-from-behind win, for Dogie fans at least, was the infamous 1990 state basketball championship when the Dogies rallied from a 20-point deficit in the fourth quarter to snatch the title away from the Torrington Trailblazers.

For a small 3A school, that is a memory that lives on, even for those who were not around to witness that amazing game.

It was accomplished because a squad of teenagers and their coaches had the never-say-die attitude. 

Last weekend, we saw another come-from-behind victory, this time on the national stage, as the Jacksonville Jaguars made up a 27-point deficit against the LA Chargers to steal the game, with a one-point margin of victory on a 36-yard field goal — which just barely made it through the uprights. 

The feat is the third largest comeback in post-season play in NFL history.

Things didn’t look good for the Jags in the first half. In fact, it was downright ugly. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence had a dismal start to the game, throwing a gut-wrenching four interceptions and completing only 12-18 passes during the first two quarters of play. 

The dreadful offensive display by Jacksonville had them down 27-0 before they were able to right the ship.

As captain of the proverbial ship, it fell on Lawrence to pull himself up by his bootstraps to turn things around. 

I don’t care who you are, how much money you’re being paid, or how good of an athlete you are, he was in a precarious position. After the two quarters he had just played, anyone would understand if Lawrence’s confidence had been shaken to the point of no return by halftime.

But he proved that it wasn’t.

He followed those four interceptions with four touchdown passes on four straight possessions. He also directed the winning drive, which included a 25-yard gain by running back Travis Etienne on fourth and one. That conversion would ultimately set up Riley Patterson’s go-ahead field goal.

I guess that’s why Lawrence gets paid the big bucks.

After the game, Lawrence said, “You couldn’t write a crazier script …We were never out of the fight … I’m kind of speechless, honestly, just to see what belief can do and to see when a team believes in each other what you can accomplish.”

He spoke volumes with those few words, because that sums up the never-say-die attitude that champions embody.

Whether you’re on the gridiron, the hardwood, the pool, the mat, the pitch, the track or the field, it’s not over until it’s over as long as everyone believes it’s possible to succeed.

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