There’s a proverbial saying that may have first originated in the late 19th century.
"The difficult we do immediately; the impossible takes a little longer."
This perfectly rational statement was first acknowledged by English novelist Anthony Trollope in his novel, Phineas Redux.
Nowadays, the U.S. Armed Forces have used these words as their slogan during times of extreme duress.
As for the members of the Aurora boys soccer team, Trollope’s axiom could describe their 2018 season.
The Greenmen had the impossible task of retracing their footsteps of their own preeminence.
So what, pray tell, did Aurora face that was considered just about unsustainable?
The Greenmen had to follow the exquisite act of one of their greatest seasons ever. The 2017 squad put everything together and wound up going all the way to the Division II state semifinals.
This legendary group of young men also captured the team’s first-ever Suburban League American Conference championship.
Did the magic of 2017 take the stage again for a curtain call?
Last year’s performance could definitely be considered worthy of an Oscar nomination.
In the end, though, the Academy Award did not reach West Pioneer Trail.
Aurora fourth-year head coach Jason Bibza, on the other hand, isn’t too concerned about such arbitrary honors.
Besides, even Leonardo DiCaprio endured much heartache before finally claiming his long-awaited golden statuette.
"It’s coming together," Bibza said. "We don’t have that superstar striker. We just have to be really composed, make quick passes to feet and be collectively smart."
Bibza’s troops gracefully made names for themselves last year despite a quicker postseason exit.
The Greenmen, who lost 12 seniors, including 10 starters from the once-in-a-lifetime 2017 squad, finished 11-6-1 overall and 4-2 in the American Conference.
Aurora’s season ended with a convincing 7-2 loss to next-door neighbor Chagrin Falls in a Kent district semifinal contest.
The Greenmen couldn’t quite duplicate the enchantment of 2017’s exultant expedition. However, their offseason departures are pretty much a mirror image.
Aurora will fight its own Battle of Bunker Hill without some of its most trusted comrades.
Bibza said goodbye to 13 seniors. The most noteworthy graduate was forward Cooper Bizjak, who led the Greenmen attack with 24 goals. The former Aurora three-sport standout is now playing for John Carroll University in University Heights.
Other graduates included defenders Will Baldwin, Nick Kocar, Ethan Donley, Kyle Ruehr and Rakin Rahman; forwards Solomon Bibza, Jack Rinicella, Trevor Lazor, Sean O’Malley and Johnny Franco; goalkeeper Jacob French; and forward/defender Ryan Fritinger.
As a result of this massive exodus, several new faces will be thrust into the fire.
Can one of those newbies turn into another potent goal-scoring phenom like Bizjak?
Instead, Bibza seeks to create an extremely productive multiple-headed creature to match Aurora’s transcendent playmaker.
"We don’t have a player that can score like Cooper does," he said. "Players like that don’t come along too often. We probably won’t have someone score 24 goals. We may spread that total around."
This mix of veterans and newcomers might not party like it’s 2017. Nonetheless, that doesn’t mean the Greenmen will be thrown around like a ragdoll.
"We can absolutely contend," Bibza said. "We just have to play simple and smart soccer. We’re looking for ways to move collectively and get behind the defense."
Time will tell if this wholehearted bunch of determined teenagers will master these tasks.
Either way, Bibza has already grown quite fond of his staunch battalion. A trip to Hancock County in northwest Ohio justifies the coach’s affection.
"The boys are a lot of fun," Bibza said. "We did a retreat to the University of Findlay. We had a great time bonding."
This type of allegiance will be essential if Aurora wants to take the less traveled road as its 2017 predecessors did.
And maybe, just maybe, the Greenmen can duplicate what was considered unimaginable when the leaves change colors.
Perhaps following St. Francis of Assisi’s advice could be a crucial first step.
"Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly, you are doing the impossible."
"We played a lot of soccer together in the summer," Bibza said. "The chemistry is good."
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, firstname.lastname@example.org or @FrankAceto_RPC.