After the season was canceled last year, I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, if you will. It all seemed a little too easy for you to handle.
You went right into putting out all the little fires that resulted from a stolen season: your seniors, the budget, roster caps, scholarship issues, etc. You didn’t skip a beat.
I guess with everything else that was happening in the world, it was easy to push all your feelings aside for a time.
I pray you realize it was out of your control and there was nothing you could have done differently to save it.
I always understood why players played like every game could be their last. The very nature of being an athlete comes with time restraints, due to graduation or age. They also never know if a season (or career) ending injury is just around the corner.
But I never thought about it for you. I had always been so worried about preparing for the next thing, that I rarely enjoyed being in the moment.
To be honest, there were times the seasons just blurred into each other. I was so focused and worried about how the consequences of a bad season would affect our lives, I lost sight of your true purpose here.
I pray you know I’ll never take a game, a season, or your impact for granted again.
You kept the ship afloat without the safety of lifejackets or an “in case of emergency” manual. You held this team together through unprecedented and unpredictable circumstances. That’s the hallmark of a true leader.
There was never any doubt in my mind that you would rise to the occasion when called. I just never imagined it would be due to no sports at all.
I pray you know since you did that, you can do anything.
As your new season starts, I realized I’ve been holding my breath, afraid of the call that it’s happening again.
So, if you are too, I am here to remind you to just breathe and take it one day at a time (even though I know I stole that motto from you.)
Can we live without sports? Yes, of course. We did that for a time.
But, if we learned anything from last season, it’s that this is more than just a game.
I pray you remember it’s about more than winning or losing now more than ever.
At least for now, there won’t be fans in the stands. There’ll be no parents or tailgating. We can’t rush the field to congratulate or console you. We won’t even be able to show you our gigantic smiles because they will be hidden by masks.
It won’t be normal. But that’s okay. Nothing about this lifestyle has ever been normal.
And I pray you know that’s what I love most about it.