Andy Olson crafted a roster, went through the painstaking process of molding a team and then guided said team through an 18-game AFL schedule.
Thursday is the reason why he spent countless hours leading the Spokane Shock through the perils of a not-so-glamorous league.
"This is the only reason you play, this is the only reason you coach: is to see what you can do in the playoffs," Olson said.
The 3rd-seeded Shock host the 2nd-seeded Chicago Rush at the Spokane Arena on Thursday in a first-round playoff matchup. The Shock get the benefit of a home crowd -- despite the lower seed -- because of scheduling conflicts for Chicago. That won't matter, though, if Spokane doesn't come to play.
Olson is wary of a slow start, like the ones that have plagued the Shock the last couple weeks. A poor start last Friday almost spelled a loss to the lowly Pittsburgh Power. If Spokane gives a repeat performance in the first quarter Thursday, Olson doesn't see the game ending well.
"That's going to get us beat against a good team like Chicago," he said. "We want to come out with energy, we want to come out aggressive on offense. You never know what's going to happen on defense, but offense, we need to take care of the football."
Players have shown an extra level of excitement during practice this week, which Olson ultimately believes as a good thing. Of course, that won't ultimately be determined until after the final whistle on Thursday.