His middle name is Enthusiasm. His strong suit is attitude. His personality is his winning way.
I really can’t imagine anyone hearing his after-game interview — as to how his team managed to rally round and beat their opponents (Vandergift High School) 42-41, coming back from their losing halftime position of 28-14 — and not wanting to get out there and put that enthusiasm to work in their own life.
Yes, everyone who commented on it — on TV or online — said just about the same thing in their own words: it’s the best motivational speech they have ever heard.
It was natural, spontaneous and sincere. There is nothing better to the ears than hearing spontaneous sincerity all wrapped up in genuine enthusiasm, and Apollos Hester had it all.
My written words — or anyone’s — cannot even come close to expressing the spirited words that sallied forth from Hester’s own joyous spirit that day. You need to check it out on YouTube if you are ever feeling down or are in need of a pick-me-up and don’t want to hear or read yet another Pablum-flavored platitude about how to just keep smiling through your “troubles” without any real heartfelt belief or energy behind the advice.
Here are just a few tidbits from that joyous, uplifting, totally and happily infectious after-game interview with Austin Time-Warner Cable local sports reporter, Lauren Mickler, which burst forth in response to her one little “ordinary” inquiry into how they managed to turn it around and come out on top: “Sometimes in life you’re gonna start slow; that’s OK.”
“”It took guts… it took an attitude… and that’s all it takes to be successful.”
“It’s an awesome feeling… it’s an awesome feeling…when you truly believe that you’re going to be successful…”
“Regardless of the situation, regardless of the scoreboard, you’re going to be successful because you put in all the time, all the effort, all the hard work, and you know it’s going to pay off.”
“Win or lose, we knew we were going to be all right.”
“You can do anything you put your mind to. Never give up on your dreams. Keep smiling. No matter what you’ve been going through, if you fall down, just get up.”
And although I couldn’t quite catch all the actual words, Apollos then went on to say even if you can’t get up, your friends are there to help you up; your mama’s there, your papa’s there, God is there, and “hey, even I’m there.”
Although I’m not a big fan of football, it’s hard not to notice that much of the news of late has covered the unsavory deeds of one well-known football player or another — giving the NFL an even blacker eye for the unacceptable behavior of its teams’ members — which may be one of the reasons why this little seemingly inconsequential tidbit of football news on the lower end of general interest (high school as compared to national) caught my attention.
Sometimes we need to highlight the uplifting, the joyous, the inspirational and inspiring words of someone who is saying them for no other reason than that they are just flowing from his very heart and soul, expressing how he feels at that very moment, with nothing else to gain, nothing to lose, nothing to hide, and no secret agenda to set into motion.
Apollas Hester: I want to keep your name in my file and check in with you in about 10 years. Along with everyone else, I add my own WOW to your personal collection of comments from anyone who commented on your now “award-winning” after-game interview.
And I doubt, as time goes by and football statistics of all kinds are compiled and recorded, that many people will have to ask, “What after-game interview are you talking about?”
Maramis Choufani is the Managing Editor of the Las Vegas Tribune. She writes a weekly column in this newspaper. To contact Maramis, email her at email@example.com.