Tribute to 2005
HERE COME THE NESHAMINY REDSKINS
Many hard-core fans and friends of the Neshaminy Redskins, young and old alike, will tell you without fear of contradiction that in this part of the community, Heartbreak Ridge is known as the home of the ‘Skins. In fact, the Ridge is judged by most people to be a special and one of a kind high school football attraction rooted in history and legend. Additionally, its location – high above the wooded banks of the meandering Neshaminy Creek in a rolling landscape of fields and forested growth – provides a unique setting for the sheer fun and excitement of watching those Friday night battles under the lights. And though the mere mention of its name brings smiles to enthusiastic Redskins, for visiting teams and their following, a game at Heartbreak Ridge can oft times be a frustrating experience, especially when it is all about rivalries and the business at hand.
Be that as it may, Heartbreak Ridge is a place where history lives, where over the last half-century folklore, legends, traditions, and perhaps even some fantasy have been forged and fashioned by the coaches and players who have called it home. With that background firmly established, the Ridge and its status as a highly celebrated and recognized high school football venue is not subject to question.
Suffice it to say, Redskin sports fans have a spiritual-like connection to the Ridge and the many legends that have memorialized this field of dreams. Indeed, even the ‘Skins football Wall of Fame is located there where it serves as a tribute to just some of the coaches, players and honorees who have provided the foundation for its storied history. Moreover, for decades the Ridge has been the focal point of a steadfast belief in Redskin invincibility. And the truth of the matter is, that feeling of invincibility is for all time locked away safely in the minds of the fans; linked not only to some of the most exciting and high-spirited games ever played in Lower Bucks but also to the future victories Neshaminy fans have come to expect when “toe meets leather” in Langhorne.
But why focus on the allure of a football field within a discussion so explicitly directed at the ‘Skins themselves? Clearly, as has been said many times over, the entire world is a stage for which there is a time and a place for everyone. For the 2005 ‘Skins that time is at hand and that place is here on the Ridge. With that said, this most current band of brothers must now quickly learn that there is no second chance and no other course except to do all they can to earn for themselves a niche in the continuum that is Neshaminy football.
Understandably, that mandate places immediate importance on the challenge of successfully negotiating this year’s schedule and securing a spot in the playoffs. Despite the obvious difficulties and unknowns before them, there are countless reasons to believe that as a team they will have what it takes to succeed; playing smart and playing tough as they pursue that long, bumpy road to the championship game. To that end, it is certain the 2005 ‘Skins are booted and spurred and ready to display their courage and determination in head-to-head competition.
All that considered, it should be no surprise to learn that this is something each of them has dreamt about for years; this all-too-short and fleeting moment in time, when as Redskins players their mission would be to perform as did those before them and thus become part of the stuff of Neshaminy lore. Although in due time they will come to understand and appreciate that greatness is about hard work, all-out preparation and playing like a champion when failure is not an option, that legacy of their time on the Ridge may only become apparent as memories fade and legends grow.
However, for the moment, the ‘Skins are still laboring through the last of their physically and emotionally draining summer practice sessions. Still, notwithstanding the oppressively hot and humid surroundings, the air is thick with the excitement and anticipation of the upcoming season. Teammates and coaches can sense it in the midst of the guttural sounds of players in motion; balls being kicked, thrown, caught and carried; and in the thud, pop, and crack of protective pads as bodies collide and fall to the ground. And while to the casual observer it appears to be a stormy sea of wind-lashed angry waves, the coach sees it otherwise. As a point of fact, this chaotic, rough-and-tumble activity serves his number one goal for preseason training camp: the successful transformation of this talented, rough-hewn working body of free spirits into a single minded and cohesive contender. In summary, these are his charges, his warriors that will be drawn up as troops – fit and eager for the coming battles.
Lastly, not to be overlooked are the untold numbers of die-hard fans, mothers, fathers, siblings, girlfriends, cheerleaders, band members, students, administrators, teachers and former players, who have pledged allegiance and offered up prayers for the success of these young men and their coaches. Yet, as reassuring as the hopes and expectations of this loyal group may be, they cannot by themselves materially affect the actions or outcome of play on the field. Nevertheless, they are a necessary part of winning and they share in the joy of victory and sometimes the agony of defeat. It is their way of saying we are in this together, through good times and bad, united in spirit for those Friday night struggles.
Appropriately, then, we close this tribute to the ’05 season with:
HERE COME YOUR REDSKINS!