It went viral more than a week ago — so in today’s Internet scene, it’s borderline ancient — but in case you haven’t seen or heard about the Apollos Hester post-game interview video, allow me to fill you in and explain why it matters so much.
If you’ve been living under a rock, I should probably first clue you in that the game of football hasn’t had the best publicity of late.
The game’s highest level, the National Football League, has been embroiled in scandal over problems relating to domestic violence and child abuse, while a college football news report isn’t complete without an update on the latest Jameis Winston misstep or allegation.
So, leave it to a high school kid to remind us all about the good in football.
Apollos Hester, a senior wide receiver for the East View Patriots in Georgetown, Texas, was interviewed by a local television reporter following his team’s come-from-behind victory over a rival on Sept. 19.
Still pumped up and possibly experiencing an out-of-body moment, Hester — prompted by just one question from the reporter — launched into a speech that talked a little about football and a lot about life.
Along the way he almost certainly demonstrated that he has a future as a motivational speaker.
“All right, well, at first, we started slow, we started real slow, and you know, that’s all right, that’s OK, because, sometimes in life, you’re gonna start slow,” Hester said. “That’s OK. We told ourselves, ‘Hey, we’re gonna start slow, we’re gonna keep going fast. We’re gonna start slow, but we’re always, always gonna finish fast. No matter what the score was, we’re gonna finish hard, we’re gonna finish fast.”
He goes on.
“We weren’t defeated, but they had us. But, it took guts, it took an attitude — that’s all it takes. That’s all it takes to be successful is an attitude. And that’s what our coach told us. He said, ‘Hey, it’s gonna be tough. It’s gonna be tough. It’s gonna be hard. You’re gonna go out there, you’re gonna battle, you’re gonna fight, you’re gonna do it for one another. Do it for each other, you’re gonna do it for yourself, you’re gonna do it for us, and you’re gonna go out with this win.’ And we believed that, we truly did. And it’s an awesome feeling.”
It was the kind of speech that had me pumped up just hearing it and ready to run through a brick wall.
More importantly, though, it was a reminder of the values that permeate football culture.
For all its faults — and the game has plenty, even at the high school level (see, rampant transfers) — football is a part of our culture the way baseball once was because of things that Hester references: persistence, teamwork, unity and courage.
Pretty much everything Hester said sounds like it could be plucked from a Disney sports movie’s script — but that’s OK.
Football needs a little more Disney and a little less TMZ in this current climate. And I, for one, am thankful Apollo Hester reminded us all of that.