What a difference a week makes. Here is it is, Saturday morning, and I make my usual trip into school to start the preparation for another game ahead, but I am amazed at the difference in emotion this week. There is a sense of peace in knowing I was part of something that will forever be remembered by the athletes I coach and the community I work with.
Last night was senior night, where we recognize all of our fall athletes and the Raider band. As I look back on last night, the score of the game will soon be forgotten, but the love that a group of seniors shared as they performed for the last time on the Farm, in front of the community that has supported them so well, will always be cherished.
Throughout the course of the game on senior night, I continue to get flashbacks to some of the times that have been shared, some of the emotions experienced with so many of the seniors.
You remember the trips, struggles, wins, and laughter and you want the best for them. You realize how much has been gained because of the effort and commitment they have given.
I was so proud of the boys. They performed well early in the game allowing us a strong lead and the opportunity to share the playing time with all of their teammates. I thought all of the boys did great and it was wonderful to see the smiles and the confidence with which they carried themselves.
But I kept thinking about the seniors and how they were not on the field as the clock ticked down.
With minutes left in the game, my starting quarterback came to me and asked for something that I had not thought of: Could he have the opportunity to take the last snap of the night?
I looked at him and could feel his love of the game, his team, and this night. There is not a young man I have pushed harder, challenged more, or loved more. I felt it was the best way for this night to end. Probably not many were watching as we got the ball one last time, the clock was ticking quickly down and my senior sprinted to the field to take the final snap. We did not need to snap the ball, the time was below the play timer, but never have I been happier to watch the senior who represented his entire class take the ball and kneel for the final tick on a great night for a wonderful senior group.
Photo by Debbie Tomlinson.