Tonight, I unpacked my "football bag" and chairs from the back of my car for the last time this season.
It just left an ache in my heart that our season is over. This is only my second season as a coach's wife, and last season, I was still learning and didn't quite get it yet.
I can tell you in a million years, I never thought I would cry over a football game. But at the end of the game, I stood there in a puddle of tears because I finally got it.
Because tonight, when the game was over, I looked around at those boys who played their last high school football game, those sweet cheerleaders who cheered on those boys for the last time, and majorettes and band kids who performed under the lights for the last time.
I looked around at those parents who just watched their little boy play for the last time. I saw those coaches hold on to those boys with everything they've got when that game was over.
This sport is so much more than just a game, and before I was a part of it, I'd be guilty of thinking it was.
It's about all the people it impacts, the ones on the fields, on the sidelines, or in the stands.
It's about watching this team that was counted out and picked as last never give up and prove them all wrong.
It's about overcoming all the highs and lows over the last few seasons and seeing these young men make incredible strides that so many thought they couldn't.
It's about the coaches who pour their heart and soul into these boys- the ones who are teaching them so much more than the game of football.
It's about the community that stands behind them and sticks with them, win or lose.
The bond this game creates is undeniable, and I couldn't imagine or expect how much it would impact my family.
Those boys, who, at the drop of a hat this summer, helped us move in the middle of a rainstorm with a smile on their faces. As a mom, I watch my kids stand out there and high-five those boys as they run out on that field and cheer them on. My daughter, who got to cheer with the big girls, now wants to be a lifelong cheerleader. They look up to these kids so much.
I don't think they will ever understand the influence and impact they've had, and I'm so grateful for it.
We gain a whole new family between those boys and the coaching families. This family we gain creates memories I hope my kids will never forget.
It's a crazy life, and I'm so thankful for the people that it has brought to us.
Before the guidance I've gotten over the last two seasons, I was clueless about what this life would be like. I'm so thankful for people to get lost with on the way to games, listening to our kids giggle, laugh, and be crazy in the back seat. I'm thankful for the talks on the way there and back, whether it's a vent session or getting style and fashion tips from my pre-teen daughter.
I'm so thankful for those memories and moments.
So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you to all of you who were a part of making this season so memorable.
Thank you for sharing your talents with all of us every week.
Thank you for getting to go alongside you and watch you grow individually and as a team.
Thank you for all the work you put in this season.
And if it was your last season, know that we know you left it all out there and never gave up.