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Those We Honor

Achievement  Significance  Service  Legacy
Those We Honor
“For over a thousand years, Roman conquerors returning from battle victories were accorded the honor of triumphal, tumultuous parades. In the procession came trumpeters and musicians and strange animals from the conquered territories, together with carts laden with treasure and captured armaments. The conqueror rode in a triumphal chariot, the dazed and defeated combatants walking in chains before him. Sometimes his children, robed in white, stood with him in the chariot or rode the trace horses. But always a slave stood behind the conqueror, holding a golden crown above him and continually whispering in his ear a warning that “all glory is fleeting.” 

Football like any other contentious, physical battle produces a winner and a loser. In preparations leading up to the battle and in the battle itself there is one objective: to win! For the winner there are accolades and rewards and often “the spoils” from the encounter. For the loser there is defeat and humiliation and loss. Both combatants are relegated to “live in the moment” of the outcome…and respond. In ancient times, a winner was revered if he responded well by not treating his losing opponent with contempt and disdain and not “swelling up with pride” over his own achievement. If his response was to expand his own importance and exhibit hubris, this was an affront to the Gods and was the basis of every Greek tragedy that exists.

All of the individuals in the photographs above are winners that responded well. They have been successful modern football warriors that have been acknowledged as such by the very best of their peers. They have been successful at football and have been successful in life because of their awareness that to be successful in life requires that “opportunity must be seized as life presents it.” All of life is a lesson to be found both in winning and in losing, but that lesson must be sought after if it is to endure and be passed on. They have accepted the here and now and done what they could with what they had. They have lived in the here and now and have worked hard, taken risks, have overcome challenges; they have made their own luck, they are ambitious, and they have great contempt for the status quo. Above all, they are realists and understand that …”all glory is fleeting”, and to make a difference in the world, to leave a legacy behind, has required infusing themselves, their values and their accomplishments into the lives of others. Although all of the above competitors were substantial warriors at an early age, they all became teachers and mentors, passing on their knowledge, their experience and themselves to those just beginning the journey. To do this has brought significance to their life and to the lives of others, and honor to all of us in the Cal Lutheran community.

Mike Sheppard, a Cal Lutheran graduate who has coached for seven NFL teams, says that his Cal Lutheran experience shaped his entire life, spiritually, personally, professionally. “Cal Lutheran coaches were great role models, men of character, who taught us the game on so many different levels, which is undoubtedly why so many Cal Lutheran players who went Pro as players later went into coaching”.

As one of the newspaper articles described the scholarship and football exploits of Jim Kallas, the legendary “Galloping Greek” football player from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, who eventually came to teach and coach at Cal Lutheran, “Men such as this that have risen to great heights on the field of play have applied lessons learned from glorious triumphs and disheartening defeats to reach new heights in lives of service to others.”

In ensuing publications of this website, we will share interviews with you of not only all of the above individuals, for this list just scratches the surface at Cal Lutheran, but many other significant athletes that have “responded well” and made significant contributions.
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