The season is over. Our high school football team, of which Younger Son is a proud member, fell in the semi-finals of our state playoffs last night in a heart-wrenching down-to-the-last-minute thriller. Final score: 31-27.
A win would have put us in the state title game next weekend, but it was not to be.
Losses such as this are hard for young guys and Younger Son was somber last night. Even though we all knew it could happen, it is still an abrupt ending. Throughout the spring and summer, Younger Son’s life is consumed with conditioning and workouts. Two-a-days start in early August, then there are scrimmages. When school starts there are afternoon practices, then games on Friday nights. He still played JV this year too, so he would often have a game on Monday night as well.
Younger Son comes from a gene pool that is not inclined toward athletics. Of my three children, he is probably the most like me, but there is one significant difference: when I was young, I had a tendency to give up on things that I thought were too difficult. I stopped playing any kind of organized sports early in my life when I noticed the superiority of my peers, even though I had a strong desire to play.
Younger Son, in contrast to his father, has worked hard to overcome obstacles. He has given his whole heart which at times has gotten stomped on, but which is so big that sometimes I don’t think his football jersey can adequately contain it.
When he comes off the field after a successful extra-point attempt where he has been on the line, his enthusiasm is no less than if he were a running back who had run 90 yards for a touchdown. I can see him grinning through his helmet as he pumps his fist in the air and slaps his teammates on their backs. And every time it makes me catch my breath.
And my enthusiasm, I assure you, is no less than if he were a running back who had run 90 yards for a touchdown.
In short, he is my hero.
And so, in recognition of his winning season but, more importantly, as a tribute to his own internal victories, I present to you my favorite football player -- with his biggest fan: