My dad told me a ton of sports stories while growing up, no matter where we were headed, it would not be long before my pops’ began with his latest anecdote — regardless how many times I may have heard the tale.

But there was always one that I never tired of hearing. It was of my dad’s high school football team and their longtime rivals Hollandale. One year, the teams had finished tied at the top of the standings, despite my dad’s squad losing out to Hollandale earlier in the season. My dad explained how his high school coach had pulled the team together for a meeting.

The choice was simple. Finish the season tied for first place with Hollandale and go to the high school bowl game as co-champions. Or play their rivals in a winner-take-all matchup for the final game of the year.

The decision was made and the two teams at the top of the standings meet up once again and while Hollandale knocked off my pops’ team again and won the title. The reason I remember this story so vividly is because my dad always expressed the happiness of getting to face an opponent that had beat him a second time.

Although the ending wasn’t what he wanted, getting the opportunity to face a team that beat you before and get over that hump can be a catalyst to something great.

ajohnson@hearstmedia

ct.com; @aronJohnson_