I've been dreading this day for years. I knew it would come much faster than I could prepare... but that didn't make it any easier. Tonight was the Senior Send Off for the Senior Football players and cheerleaders. It is usually scheduled for our last regular season home game and tonight's the night. I needed a distraction, so I volunteered to organize it by collecting all of the names, getting the list to the announcer, organizing the escorts and following up on the flower order. I (mistakenly) thought that if I was distracted during the preparation, I wouldn't be so emotional when the time came. I thought wrong. To add to the stress, Coach Canepa invited the mothers into the locker room for the pre-game ritual. I had done this before (by invitation from Coach Glines) but never with my own kid on the team. A very different experience coming at it from that perspective.
I was fine... really I was... until it was our turn. As I took my son's arm and the magnitude of the moment hit us all, we began to cry... And not just a simple weep, I went into UGLY CRY! I hate ugly cry. (Actually, all cry is ugly for me... I always admired those women who could just let tears pour from their eyes without pulling some distorted face or making a groaning noise.) There we were... hanging on to each other, walking across the field on the 40 yard line in front of God and everybody (literally) and not really wanting to reach the other side.
None of us really want this to end. We know it will as it must... but we really don't want to let go. Football has become such a big part of our lives and even though it will still go on, for us it will be a very different experience. Steel has played on the field at Central Catholic High School for 10 straight years. He has NEVER missed a game... and I can count on one hand the missed practices. A decade of football. 100+ games with each one of them gaining in significance and emotion as the time passes. It will leave a huge hole.
You think this is bad, wait until the last game. (Hopefully, December 18th!)