Be mindful today of the boys whose season came to an end last night.
We treat them like men and expect them to be tough but they are still someone’s little boy. And this morning, for many of them, their hearts are bruised and broken.
They’ve been out in the heat, the rain, the cold since August and today, it’s all over.
For some, the season will come around again next year, but for a select group, the last game has been played.
No more two-a-days, no more game film sessions, no more playbooks, run-throughs, or pep rallies.
There won’t be another sprint to the end zone in their lives. There isn’t a ‘working man’ flag football team to join.
There won’t be another time in their lives where they go through the ritual of putting on their armor: the shoulder pads won’t be worn again, no jersey will ever fit the same.
For many a mouthpiece will never be needed again, and they will never hear the sound of that chin strap pop.
These are the boys for whom my heart is saddest this morning. They love the game; it is part of who they are & what they love, it has been, up to this point in their lives, their identity.
And now, it is over.
Let them be quiet, let them sit alone for a little while. Fix them their favorite meal. Let them be moody. Let them sulk.
When they start emerging from the silence, remind them that they have memories that will last a lifetime.
They have learned lessons that go way beyond the field.
They gave their families memories and excitement and a shared experience to enjoy.
They gained fans who will be cheering for them forever.
They have a coach’s wife who will be forever grateful for the effort and respect and memories they gave her family.
They have a coach who is hurting right alongside them and who is, quite possibly, feeling exactly what they are feeling today.
They have so much more in them than what they accomplished on their field.
This morning, remind them they are loved and they most certainly won’t be forgotten.
This morning, hug that boy, because last night he fought like a man.