Monday, November 01, 2010

15 years of football end with a pasting -- but it's OK

Youngest Son finished his high school football career on Saturday afternoon. His team had made the playoffs despite a heart-breaking loss in its last conference game. That loss cost the team a home game; instead, we were set up as sacrificial victims for a local football powerhouse -- Long Suffering Spouse's alma mater, as it turns out.

"Did you go to a lot of games here, Mom?" Younger Daughter asked as she settled in beside us Saturday afternoon.

"No," said Long Suffering Spouse, "I was only in here once -- for graduation. They have the graduations outside when the weather's nice."

Younger Daughter came with Middle Son. Oldest Son came by himself. (Older Daughter demanded updates by cellphone; she couldn't come up from Indianapolis this weekend.)

Because it was Halloween weekend, a lot of the kids in the student section came to the game in costume. Green was the predominant color of all costumes on the visitors' side of the field -- we had only the green Teletubby, for example -- because green is one of the school colors. Younger Daughter also wore a green sweatshirt, and there was a greenish pallor to her skin. But I attributed the facial coloring less to makeup and more to how she spent the prior evening. My speculations were confirmed when I inquired.

It wasn't hard to figure: Younger Daughter was hiding behind huge (non-prescription) sunglasses. She should have worn her regular glasses. She really needs them to see the field. She kept asking her brothers whether Youngest Son was on the field and, if so, where. They mocked her.

You'll note that I've gotten this far into the essay without mentioning the actual game. The less said of it the better. There was one play in particular that suffices in itself to describe the day: Their quarterback dropped back to pass and we had three rushers closing in. But they couldn't wrap him up because he kept dropping back. Ten yards, 20, 30 yards behind the original line of scrimmage. He wasn't running straight back, not always; he was weaving from side to side, too, so he could see down field. (This was why they were afraid to try and bring him down, afraid he'd make them commit and get around them.) Still, it looked like our guys were going to chase him out of the other end of the stadium. Then he saw a kid come open far down the field. Very far down the field. The ball must have traveled 60 yards in the air, landing in the receiver's arms like it had been dropped from two feet away. (And this QB is a sophomore!) They scored on the next play. Or maybe it was the play after that. Whatever: They kept scoring.

And so ended my last high school football game. Unless I live to see a grandchild play, this was the end -- at least, this was the last game I'll attend where I have a real rooting interest. Long Suffering Spouse and I added it up yesterday: Between grammar school and high school (and Oldest Son's 'intra-hall' college career), she and I have been attending football games for 15 straight seasons. My sons all played hard, in their time, and all, I believe, are better for it. They made good friends, they learned teamwork and cooperation, they enjoyed success -- and they learned to endure, and recover from, failure. These are lessons that you can't learn in books.

And these are lessons I could not teach.


Jean-Luc Picard said...

A good football history ends!

Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

i did some sports posts too! but not football.

smiles, bee

Dave said...

When does practice start for the last baseball season start?

Ellee Seymour said...

My youngest son is big into golf now. Maybe your lad will take that up too now he has given up high school football.