Dear Seniors, This is What I Want You to Remember
Can you believe your last season on our team is over? It’s hard to put into words all the emotions of that last game, that last time stepping onto the field or court as a player for your school. Regardless of this year’s record, we both know it doesn’t reflect how hard you’ve worked the last four years. It’s impossible for two numbers with a dash in between to even attempt to reveal all the time, physical pain, exhaustion, frustration, excitement, exhilaration, and commitment of your athletic career.
When all is said and done, wins and losses are not what define a team. And while I trust you will remember some stats from your time here and the energy of game day, I want you to remember more from your time with us.
Seniors, here’s what I really want you to remember:
You will find yourself in team situations for the rest of your life. The camaraderie you share with your teammates is important. There is a brotherhood on a sports team that is like no other, but that way you treat a good teammate translates well to how you interact with co-workers and family members.
Remember how great it feels when you are on a team with members you trust. Remember the relief of knowing when the hard times arise, you can pick up your phone and know your teammate will answer. That when your teammate says they will do something they will do it and you will do what is asked of you in return.
Remember the times you linked arms and stepped on the field together and encouraged each other. Those times you expected your teammates to give 100% on the field and rewarded them with your effort as well? Those times were sacred because you were doing them together. The principles of being an excellent teammate will bring you success the rest of your life.
I also want you to remember all the things Coach taught you beyond the X’s and O’s. You know those phrases you recite when called upon to do your best impressions? Those phrases are important. Commitment over comfort, Love the Suck Factor, Pound the Rock. These sayings will serve you well your whole life when challenges arise. More than that, Coach showed you the value of preparation. All that time on Hudl was to help you be the best you could be on game day. Coach showed up win or lose and never stopped looking for ways to help you be your best. Remember that commitment requires more than showing up on game day.
Remember you have been given the skills to keep fighting when life doesn’t go your way. Think about how much has changed from your freshman year. You have developed physically, emotionally, and mentally in significant ways the past four years and it doesn’t stop with the end of the season. Be proud of the gains in the weight room and improvements on the field. But also remember the ways you’ve learned to keep going when frustration hits.
You understand how to keep your wits about you when the scoreboard isn’t going your way because the last four years have shown that the game isn’t over until the clock runs out. Remember the same is true of many life experiences as well, but it will always require a choice to dig in and move forward when life is hard.
Seniors, I want you also to remember how Coach modeled for you ways to be a great father and husband even in the busiest seasons. Remember those minutes he spent on the field after the game playing with our kids even after a loss? What about the times our sons brought you treats and rode the bus? Remember how Coach included his family in his life. Those moments on the field and bus are some of the most memorable experiences of our kids’ lives because they were with their dad having fun, not because of a win or loss.
Mostly though, Seniors, I want you to remember that your place at our dinner table is still there and we are always a phone call away. We understand that family ties are not exclusively created with blood, and we are always happy to welcome teammates back home.
We’ve celebrated your successes on the field and in the classroom for four years and it does not end now. We are SO proud of all you’ve accomplished. We’re thankful for the ways you’ve allowed us to be in your life and we hope to continue to celebrate you in the future. Don’t ever be shy about updating us on your recent accomplishments. We’re eager to send another “Attaway” your way.
We love you and we are proud of you.
Beth Walker is a football coach’s wife and mom of two energetic boys. She strives to encourage those around her to pursue their best lives with Jesus whether she is near the game field or at the local coffee shop. As a writer, Beth continues to pursue finding her voice through seeing Jesus in the ordinary and extraordinary of daily life. She blogs at Lessons From the Sidelines.