Maximize your effort and do everything for the team. The team comes before the individual.
That was the message Saturday afternoon inside the Woodrow Wilson auditorium.
Delivering the message to the Beckley football team and community members in attendance was D.J. Shipley.
Shipley served within the ranks of the Naval Special Warfare for 17 years (Seal Team 10) and the Naval Special Warfare Development Group.
The former navy Seal, who retired in 2019 due to injuries sustained in combat and in training, is the son of two Navy parents and graduated high school at 17 before joining the Navy.
“My sophomore year was when 9-11 happened. Then in my junior year I was lifting logs over my head in San Diego, Ca.,” Shipley said.
With his background deeply rooted in Navy Seal concepts, teamwork, sacrifice, resiliency and dependability were some of the keys to what Shipley emphasized Saturday.
“It is all about what is good for the team and not individuals. If you are doing something it needs to be for the benefit of the team,” Beckley head coach Street Sarrett said was his biggest takeaway from Shipley’s presentation. “There are no individuals here on our team. It was great to have someone from the outside also emphasizing it for them.”
Shipley also wanted to remind the athletes to make the most of the opportunities they have in front of them right now.
“This is your chance at a very young age to make positive life lessons and make themselves a better person,” Shipley said. “I don’t want you to miss this opportunity to maximize every day you have and never let an opportunity go to waste.”
Along with taking advantage of every opportunity, Shipley beseeched the young athletes to stay humble and hungry, while never getting comfortable.
“Earn your seat at the table every day and be all in all the time,” Shipley said. “It will take self sacrifice, but all of the great ones have it.”
Shipley’s words truly hit home with the Beckley players.
“He is a very hard working man in life. I am not sure how people have the courage to do stuff like that. He is very inspiring,” Woodrow Wilson senior Matt Moore said. “He motivated me to better myself. This is my senior year, so I need to do everything to the best of my ability. He is right about everything he was saying today.”
Shipley also presented the Ammo Can to the 2022 version of the Flying Eagles football team.
“The Ammo Can was introduced four years ago and each year, Beckley has a presenter of the Ammo Can. The presenter talks to the team about their chosen topic somewhere between toughness and being a good human being,” assistant head coach Dave Ray explained.
All of the seniors sign the Ammo Can and it is carried to every Beckley football game. At the end of the season the Ammo Can is awarded to the toughest, most improved player on the team.