Game tied. First overtime done after the point after to tie it up. My son’s best friend is the center and he snaps a low ball that skids along the turf. The holder is able to get the ball upright but it’s just enough distraction that our future All-Star kicker shanks it. We lose. The collective air is let out of our side of the stadium. Another overtime loss. The second in two weeks. Hearts broken, helmets thrown. Tears shed.
There’s no better ticket in town. The four games that my son’s high school varsity football team have played this year have provided enough thrills and heart-breaks for an entire four-year term. These kids, and us parents, have experienced a cornucopia of emotions…the cliche “The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat” doesn’t do justice to our season.
My game-time seat-mate, my son’s best friend’s father, got to experience something I dread every game. His son making a routine error in a critical point of the game, quite possibly affecting the outcome. It’s every fathers worst nightmare (save injury). These games tear my heart out and knot my stomach unlike any other event in my life. I couldn’t sleep last night. I tossed and turned and wondered how his son was doing. Is he okay? Is he taking this for what it is…a game? Is he desperately shaken and damaged? All these thoughts swirling through my head and it’s not even my son…although he’s so close he feels like it. He’s an awesome kid with an unbridled passion for the sport so I know he’s hurting. And so am I. And hence the drama…and the agony.
But it could be worse. Before the events on the last play, we witnessed the quarterback’s father, pacing the runway above us like a caged animal…intense, angry, cussing up a storm. His kid is the star and he is living and dying with every play. He admitted as much “it’s the worse position in the world, Q.B.’s father”…oh, man, I don’t envy that guy.
Next year will be tough. My kid will be a senior and will likely be a starter. I just hope he and I handle the inevitable despair as well as my son’s best friend and his dad did. Let us remember that for all the hype, it’s just a game and we are just human. But don’t ever let us forget, this is a microcosm of life and we need to put our best foot forward, lead with integrity like our friends, and enjoy the best ticket in town.