Boscobel finished the 2011 football season without a victory, but that didn't deter praise from a highly visible person who has a vast knowledge of the sport.
The Bulldogs football team received a visit from Green Bay Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings last Wednesday afternoon in the Boscobel High School Library.
"You guys are winners in my eyes, in all of their eyes and in each other's eyes," Jennings told the team during his hour-long talk. "Being 0-9, it doesn't define who you guys are as a team. What really defines you as a team is what you put into it. 0-9 was the result, but what you put in, the time, the dedication, the work, the commitment, the sacrifices, all of those things really define who you really are."
Jennings picked the Bulldogs as a winner in an A & W restaurant essay contest as football teams throughout Wisconsin submitted an essay on why they wanted Jennings to speak to their team. Four football teams throughout the state had Jennings pay them a visit. The other three schools were Fond du Lac, Princeton/Montello/Green Lake and Oconto.
Jennings, one of the NFL's top receivers and part of the 2010 Packers Super Bowl Championship team, spent only a brief portion of his time speaking about football and answered questions with the team and even conducted a chant with the team. Football coach Todd Fischer presented Jennings with hats, and a t-shirt. Jennings also signed a jersey that now sits in the trophy case at the high school.
All of the football players wore white T-shirts with a Packers and Bulldogs helmet with the message of the shirt saying, ‘Today is a great day to be great.' Jennings also wore a black shirt that said the same thing.
"Those are some sweet shirts man," Jennings said to his captive audience.
The football standout stressed the importance of education to the Boscobel players and not to just focus on football. The odds are against football players continuing their athletics at a high level after high school.
According to the NCAA -approximately 6.0 percent, or less than one in 16 of all high school senior boys playing interscholastic football will go on to play football at a NCAA member institution. Additionally, approximately one in 50 (1.7 percent) of NCAA senior football players will get drafted by a National Football League (NFL) team and additionally eight in 10,000, or approximately 0.08 percent of high school senior boys playing interscholastic football will eventually be drafted by an NFL team.
One of the main focuses from Jennings was honing in on the information and knowledge the student athletes can learn from being a student.
"It stems from education, educate yourself," he said. "Look around you, it's all around you. Use (faculty) as a valuable resource to enhance and to better yourself. Don't let it be all about athletics and football. Let that drive you, let that be the vehicle of success. When it comes down to it at the end of the day, you can take that book away from me, but what I retained from that book, you can't take away."
He even spoke about how he wished he was a better student during his high school days.
"I had that mindset when it came to sports, that's what drove, that's what motivated me," Jennings said.
"When it came to academics, it was a different ballgame. I was smart when I applied myself, when I had that mindset, but was I willing to sacrifice, was I willing to commit myself to doing my homework all of the time, studying when I didn't really want to? Not really."
Many people look at a record or mark as successful or unsuccessful, but the way you treat people means more to Jennings.
"(Your record) 0-9 means nothing, but who you are means everything," Jennings said.
Jennings also preached to the team on the aspect of life being too short, something Jennings heard a lot from his mother at an early age, and to cherish each day because you can only be great the day you have.
"Don't get so caught up into everything that's going on around you that you lose what's going on for you that day," Jennings said. "Don't worry about the next person, don't care about the next person when it comes to who you want to become. You have to be the first person that has to mold yourself into to what you view yourself as. Life is too short. So today just be great, because today is a great day to be great."