*This story was featured in the Hastings Tribune on June 15, 2016.
After learning that he had been invited to participate in the 2016 Nebraska Eight-Man All-Star Game, Brennan Miller received a bit of advice.
That advice was simple.
“I was told by a coach last week, in all-star games, you do your thing and let everyone else do their thing, but you help them along the way,” Miller said.
This week, he’s trying to take that advice to heart and is enjoying his time on his new team.
“Practice has been fun. The practices are laid back, but you get to be with a lot of good people who you played against,” he said. “The whole environment is great and everyone wants to be your friend and do something great for one another.”
That camaraderie that has been forged between Miller and a few of his West teammates came long before Sunday’s introduction to the team.
Despite being the only Lawrence-Nelson player participating in the game, Miller had the opportunity to work with a few of his new teammates a week earlier.
“We just got finished playing in a TWC All-Star basketball game last week and coming into this, it’s good coming back and playing with those guys,” he said.
Miller, a two-sport standout for the Raiders who plans to walk-on to play basketball at Chadron State College in Chadron, thought his career was over after a 38-0 loss in the 2015 Class D-2 playoffs against Wynot.
While the final loss during a senior season can be crushing for some, for Miller, it was just a part of life.
“It’s not the end of the world for me,” he said. “I didn’t really think about it, because I had basketball to look forward to.”
Since he accepted his invitation to join the West team, he has been able to look forward to praise from his community back home.
“During our successful season, people were supportive, and now, people walk around and say ‘hey, nice job on going to the all-star game.’ It’s nice to be a part of that,” he said.After just one half-pad practice, Miller feels good about his team’s chances on Saturday.
“I feel solid on offense and defense from what I’ve seen this morning,” he said.
He even went so far as to guarantee a win.
“(We will win), it ain’t no question,” he said. “Guaranteed.”
The East vs. West game starts at 1:30 p.m. at Lloyd Wilson Field at Hastings College.