Opening day jitters are real.

We established this months ago, during the start of the winter sports season in 2009. Many starters step onto the playing field for the first time in the opening game.

However, these jitters are evidently no excuse.

It seems like the growing trend in the first week of the season is that coaches are accepting fewer excuses, and good for them. A coach's job is to maintain order and get things right, not defend what his or her team did wrong.

The circumstances for each group are different. I'd imagine playing your first game for a new coach would be especially different. The player-coach bond is one that takes fostering and starting a new system on top of your typical opening day jitters simply adds to the task.

However, when you step on the field or court, all of that is supposed to change. It is supposed to become "just another game" and often does. However, Warde's boys soccer team may have paid the price for those opening team jitters, allowing a goal just 4:14 into the season.

A good start can buoy a team into a good season. One game can become a building block for another and the rest of the year. Despite its loss on Tuesday to Staples, Warde's boys soccer team knows it can compete with the best teams in the FCIAC.

Ultimately talent rises to the top and being the best team is what distinguishes competitors. However, if a team can steal a game early on in the year, it could be the difference between FCIAC, SWC, SCC playoffs or not. An early win over an unsuspecting foe could also determine state playoffs or not (see: Warde vs. Darien football, 2009).

Harnessing all of this added energy and excitement for good is an unenviable task, but if it can be done, and figuring out how to overcome the jitters that the first week brings, it could also spell greatness at the end of the year. The jitters of opening day are matched only by the jitters of starting the second season (i.e. playoffs).

And if a team can harness playoff jitters, and harkens back to harnessing those opening day jitters, it could lead to success when it matters most.