Many football coaches use the motto: "It's not how you start, but how you finish."
The statement applied to Tom Baldwin during his retirement party Thursday night at the Neighborhood Community Center in Costa Mesa.
The former Costa Mesa, Santa Ana and Santa Ana Valley high school coach ended an emotional speech with poignant words.
Several of the nearly 400 people in the room played for Baldwin. He found it fitting to end by simulating a pregame speech.
First, he set the mood, telling everyone that on this night, his team would be playing against Mater Dei. That, of course, got everyone's attention.
Then Baldwin said (and I'm paraphrasing), "I want you to go out there and be crazy. Get crazy, because I've heard it takes seven people to take down a crazy person. If we are all crazy on the field, it will take 77 people to take us down. They won't have enough to take us down. OK, let's go!"