By Raymond Linex II
Corsicana Daily Sun
Patrick Harvell finds himself right where he wants to be. He’s a Texas high school football coach, and his team remains the in the playoffs, in December.
It’s a familiar situation.
Last year, his Mildred Eagles ended their season Dec. 8, a week away from playing for a state title. Twice he coached teams that played for state titles while he was defensive coordinator at Gainesville, winning it all in 2003.
With two more wins, Mildred can do something no other team school history has, and that’s play for a state title. What’s more, that game is already predetermined, set for Cowboys Stadium on Thursday, Dec. 20.
So that leaves one to ponder a very legitimate question: What do football coaches still working around the clock, seven days a week do about Christmas shopping?
It was a question that touched a nerve with Harvell. Maybe more like a funny bone.
“It’s perfect question,” he said through a little laughter.
Before he can worry about Christmas, and wife Amy (elementary principal in Rice) and boys Jacob and Jordan, there’s an issue with his sister. She’s getting married Jan. 12.
“And I’m in the wedding,” Harvell said. “I have to have a tuxedo. I was supposed to be fitted by last Saturday.”
Harvell was at the Mildred field house, working, like he probably has been every Saturday since August. (There is a bye week during the year, and Mildred’s was in early September.)
On Monday, he received a text from his sister. They would extend receiving his measurements until Dec. 12. But no later, she told him.
“I will find a way,” he responded.
As for Christmas, Harvell has already found a way.
In his 20th year in the profession, he’s a quick study. For example, he says his team’s approach to offense is to take what the defense gives it. If opposing teams line up to stop the run, the Eagles will pass. If they gear up to take away the pass, Mildred will run.
It works. The Eagles averaged 59.9 points per game in the regular season, and they are averaging 41.0 in the playoffs.
At home, he takes what the season gives him. If he’s at home during December, he can do a little more with Christmas.
If not ...
“We have an understanding at my house that if we’re still playing football in December, the Christmas lights will not be hung,” Harvell said.
But there was more.
“We have an understanding at my house that if we’re still playing football in December, (Amy) will do all of the shopping, for her family, and for mine,” he said.
Oh, and more?
“And we have an understanding at my house, if we’re still playing football in December, that she will buy her own gift and I will put my name on it,” he said, laughing a little more.
Yes, Patrick Harvell’s right where he wants to be. Coaching the game he loves, preparing for another game, and avoiding the malls and stores and the shopping frenzy.
As for Christmas morning?
“I get to say, ‘I did good this year, I picked you out something very nice,’” Harvell laughed.
Merry Christmas everybody.
Raymond Linex II is publisher of the Corsicana Daily Sun. His column appears on Thursdays. Want to “Soundoff” on his column? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org