Goodbye is the Hardest Word
Life Will March On
The Last Opportunity
Something I like to drive home to young men. Is that football is not forever.
Someday soon Spring Ball will be replaced by Summer Ball, which will be replaced by Camp, and then the Season.
And if you are a Senior, then YOU will be replaced.
You no longer will be a Football player here.
You will be a guy who once played football here.
So Honor Your Rep
Every action we take on a field as a coach or player is an opportunity to get better.
What can happen if we could teach our guys to play each play, each repetition in practice like it is their last? How good could they be after a day, week, a season?
Incremental improvements compound and grow exponentially.
What is the Most Important Play?
The right answer is this one is the most important play. The last one is forever over. The next one you may never get to play. Play this one. As if it is your last one.
Because someday soon. Football decides when its over. We never do.
Age, injury, or skill, or all, determine our fate.
The Last Game
The last game is a culmination of desire meeting up with brutal reality of finality.
Win or lose. It is a harsh reminder that life moves on.
I have been on both sides.
To win until there is nobody left to beat.
The risk as a coach is letting the emotion of a big win replace our failed coaching and the holiness of the moment.
I am reminded of a championship game long ago, going into a triple overtime. Whereby our D End jumps offside giving the opponent an easy route to the endzone in the second OT. Luckily they never saw it.
We win and forget that we never fixed Billy who jumped the hard count.
The great coach basks in his win but is toiling over all the chances that could have not gone his way. Scheduling the growing list of fixes or holes that coulda sunk the ship.
Realizing it is only because the other team had more holes in their ship that he sits with trophy.
What Was Once Is No More
But the team that loses that last game. Championship or not. Does not get the victory to mask the sting of the raw emotionality.
That what was assembled in Summer. Will never again exist on a football field.
All that work to create TEAM. Is dissolving before their very eyes.
The sting of a loss is but the salt on the wound of the finality of their collective identity.
It is a beautiful display of love. And a tragic funeral procession all at the same time.
And as alluded to above. Nature is cutting the umbilical cord off of these seniors from perhaps their final scene of childhood and sending them off into their young adult future. Ready or not.
If our coaching has served them. Then they are more than ready to “tackle” or can we say embrace their futures.
Either way, this scene on my team or someone else’s, always tugs at my heart.