CROWN POINT | Last spring the Lake Central football coaching staff, and school administration, knew something was going on in the Indians' locker room. It wasn't good.
What transpired was one of the worst days in the life of Luke Taylor, a 5-foot-11, 200-pound defensive back/linebacker who played well in Friday night's game at Crown Point.
For anyone who has ever made an error in judgment, which is everyone on the planet – Cubs fans, Sox fans, Democrats, Republicans, Ron Paul — Taylor's story is enlightening.
His ability to grow and learn from a big, big blunder and rise above the rubble is something we all can learn from. L.C.'s No. 28 lit the sky brighter than the electric bulbs overhead in an exciting Duneland Athletic Conference game.
"It changed my life,” Taylor said after playing a solid game in Times No. 1 L.C.'s 27-7 stuffing of Crown Point. “It gave me a different perspective. Before, I never, ever thought about consequences. Now, I think of consequences every day.”
Taylor's mistake almost ended his football career. Some items had been stolen from L.C.'s locker room. It was ongoing. Several players were involved. Taylor never stole anything, but says he did watch the door for one of the thieves.
When authorities called him to the big chair, Taylor wept. His soul became more important than a wallet. His name bigger than a cell phone or dollars.
He was suspended from school for 10 days. When he returned, most all of the second semester, he went to school and was not allowed to go to any school activities once the final bell sounded.
That can be lonely.
“Coming into Luke's junior year, we were not even sure if he was going to play for us,” L.C. Coach Brett St. Germain said. “But he worked his tail off. He got bigger, stronger for us. He had a very good junior season for us last year.
“After everything he's been through, he's doing a great job on the football field for us. He's doing a great job becoming a man.”
Lake Central (4-0) only had three returning starters on defense. Last season's breakout year, with a DAC title in tow, seemed tough this fall. But this Indians' D is pretty good and will surely keep improving.
“I am so glad I got a second chance,” Taylor said.
Taylor has seen school mates getting dangerously close to the line of bad consequences. Now, much wiser, he speaks to those and tries to pull them back from the edge.
All of us have done something we wish we hadn't. That is life. The most important thing is what you do after the mistake. That is what separates champions from the rest.
“It changed my life,” Taylor said. “It really did.”
This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.