By Ken Davis
Yesterday, our Panther family was handed what appeared to be a devastating blow by the TSSAA...but then morning arrived. Yes, we have survived! History and the “official” record book will show the 2018 Powell football team’s wins and losses, but it will not show the determination and tenacity of the team, the staff, and the student body.
Yesterday, after the news broke of the TSSAA sanctions, the entire mood of the school community changed. At first there was shock, and then anger (though where to place that anger varied from person to person). However, once the dust settled and we were able to regain our senses, our thoughts went immediately to our football players. I am privileged to have several of these young men in my classroom throughout the day and asked one of them if he would be interested in writing about what he experienced and felt as the day progressed. Not knowing if he would use the opportunity to just vent with vial thoughts and language, I thought at least it might be cathartic for him. I was put in my place when I finally read his words. His words, with his permission, as written are as follows:
Today has been heartbreaking. The pain that has come from this is hard to even describe, it feels as if I’ve been shot through the heart. As I look back on the success we’ve had throughout the season, I mourn the losses we’ve been given. However, all of the team and the whole city of Knoxville know that an organization with corrupt leaders can’t take those wins from us. Speaking on the behalf of the seniors, it’s been a rough four years with many challenges along the way. I love the perseverance we’ve kept during all the tribulations and “high points” we’ve fought through. To the teams we have left on our schedule, know this...we’re coming for you, and you will see the true 6-1 team we are instead of the record we’ve been left with…
This young man embodies everything it means to be a Panther. He is a conscientious student, a true peer to every student he encounters, a hard and focused worker, one who finds a positive in every situation, he can turn adversity into inspiration, and from what I know...an all around wonderful young man.
I have had the honor of teaching at Powell High School for the last 10 years and if I have learned anything during that time it is this: You may be able to strike a Panther, but the quiet rath that you will endure will create a memory you will never forget. We all face adversity...it is the response that builds and displays the character and integrity within us. We are a family at Powell High School, and we will stand by and with one another for life. Go Panthers!