GREENSBURG – After only three seasons in the Central Indiana Bantam Football League, the Decatur County Nightmares “A” team has already taken home the top prize.
The team, composed of sixth grade boys and girls, went 10-1 in the regular season, their only loss coming at the hands of Indianapolis Lutheran. The Nightmares returned the favor to their foe in the championship game and walked off the field with the honor of being called champions.
But there are other honors that transcend what can take place on a football field. The life lessons of community service, friendship and the importance of family were instilled in the young players as much as any blocking assignment on an offensive play.
Coach Cary Ralph’s playbook included as many lessons on citizenship as it did field strategy, and the resulting outcome was a group of boys and girls who displayed excellence on the football field and a brother-sister relationship toward one another.
That’s exactly what Ralph and assistant coaches Brian Lang, Jeff Beisel and Rick Carroll were hoping would happen.
Between football snaps, Ralph’s young charges made stops at the Greensburg Fire Department and washed the trucks while learning fire safety tips from local professionals. They volunteered their time at the Greensburg-Decatur County Animal Shelter, feeding and walking the dogs and allowing themselves ample time with all the furry residents therein.
Team practices drew crowds of seniors at Arbor Grove Village who sat in the sun watching more than 50 youngsters play their hearts out in one of America’s favorite pastimes, in its purest and simplest form.
And when it had all ended, the group gathered together to celebrate not only their victories on the field but their newfound friendships and burgeoning interest in making the places they call home a better place.