Tonight we traveled to Central Catholic High School for the Varsity Football Team Mass and dinner which is the official kick off for Midnight Practice and the actual start of the 2012 Football Season. I'm always so impressed with the discipline of these boys and starting off with Mass was a great example of the respect they are learning on the field. The Seniors on this team were Freshmen when Steel was a Senior so some of the faces I recognized, but there were many more that are new to me. And lots of new parents too.
The black-out period officially ends at Midnight, so at 12:01 the team will be dressed and head to the football field. The premise is to be the first team on the field for the season and (hopefully) the last team practicing in December. After the mass and dinner, the boys headed to the home of a player where they will go through a spiritual and team-building retreat with Fr. Michael (CCHS Chaplain). They will return to campus in the evening for a team meeting, (where they'll choose the captains for the season) and lift weights before getting dressed for practice at 12:01am. After practice, the boys will sleep in the locker-room and then regroup again at 8:00 for a team breakfast.
None of this is possible without the help of some incredible adults, parents and other athletic supporters. While I am quite partial (and biased) towards the coaches and in awe of their dedication to this endeavor, they could not pull off an event like this without the help of some incredible, generous parents. They really make it all possible and as the wife of a coach, I am extremely thankful for their support of the program.
I'm not afraid to admit that this is a bitter-sweet night for me. It was different when Steel was in school and Leroy was on the coaching staff. At that time it was a family affair. It's just what we did, and we were all together. Now, I'm just a coaches wife, without the emotional connection, or at least not the same level of emotional connection. I'm a has-been. As Coach Canepa was going through the schedule tonight, I waved good-bye to my husband as I know this is where most of his free time will be spent for the next several months. And he knew exactly what I meant with the gesture. Yes, I do pout... But I recognize how much he loves to coach and would never deny this opportunity for him. I will suffer in silence (most of the time) and patiently await his (hopefully) triumphant return in December. I just hope they appreciate his dedication as much as I do. In the meantime...