And just like that, it’s over. You go full speed, working hard, practicing, strategizing...to a sudden halt. It’s over.
There are tears and hugs and thank you’s and goodbyes. Then one by one everyone slowly leaves the field. The seniors stay behind because the pain of walking off the field for the last time is too unbearable. Coach's stay to hug the players and remind them that they are proud of them. Coach’s wives stay back to hug their coach to assure them we still admire them, and we just stand there in silence and share in the sadness with them.
The lights start to dim. The scoreboard shuts off. The roar from the crowd is no more. And you know what’s left?
The sounds of their people. The sound of the fans in the stands now become a familiar voice of someone’s mom and dad; instead of chants and cowbells, you suddenly hear “I love you’s” and “I’m so proud of you’s.” It’s family.
And that’s what football is all about. It’s grit and pressing forward and brotherhood and work ethic and character. But above all, it brings families together. And family is so much more than just your relatives. It’s your group of people who have rallied together week after week to root for you. They celebrate your victories and share in your losses. They started long before you ever stepped foot on that field, and they’ll be there for you the moment you step off of it for the last time. This is what matters.
People. Nothing matters more than people. Lean into them. Find someone who needs to lean into you. Through the good times and the bad, the celebrations and each defeat. Nothing matters more than people. Be with them often, but especially the weekend when your season ends, drop everything and just spend time with your people.