I hope you are, by now, familiar with the work of Roberto José Andrade Franco, a contributing editor here at D. If not, take some time soon and get on it. But right now I am asking you to read something else. It’s a brand new piece by Roberto for the Los Angeles Times on the recent and extremely timely game between Plano Senior High and Eastwood High from El Paso that happened at The Star in Frisco. It is about the game, but so much more, and even more than I knew going in. A taste:
“You have an opportunity tonight,” coach Lopez says. “An opportunity not just to play for 3, not just to play for our town, and our city, and the victims, and all the people, and all the bad that’s happened in the last month, but you have an opportunity to live your life tonight.”
Coach Lopez, a young man in his late 20s with a young family, talks. And there are moments when it sounds as if he’s realized this is too much to handle without letting a few tears flow.
Parts of his speech apply to both this game and life. Because if nothing else, that’s ultimately the goal or, at least, the hope. The hope that at this level, this brutal and violent game gives more — something immeasurable — than what it takes from those who play.
“You’re gonna go through adversity at some point.” Lopez’s voice echoes throughout the cramped room. “We might be down, we might have a turnover. We might have something that we have to come back from. But we’ve been dealing with that for a month. We’ve been dealing with that at a larger scale for a month.” By the time he ends his four-minute speech, several of his players have bloodshot eyes. A few cry.