The football season ended too early.
I know the college and pro seasons still have a ways to go. However, the one I cared about the most, my younger son’s team, is nothing but a memory. When the final buzzer blew and the 9-year old Mill Creek Hawks were on the wrong end of a 31-21 scoreboard, a football season that had seen bunch of boys earn a #1 seeding in the playoffs came an abrupt end in the quarter finals. It was the only loss of the season. Unfortunately, it was one too many and came at the wrong time.
We finished the season with a banquet that included trophies and awards, along with a lot of Mill Creek related football wear. Some kids have moved on to basketball season. For us, we’ll take a break. Baseball sign-ups are in January and both my kids are ready to play. We’ll see some of the kids and parents in the other dugouts. We’ll shake hands and catch up, but it won’t be the same. It wasn’t last year after the end of the 2010 football season.
The season actually began in July this year with speed and agility camps. In August, tryouts were held and teams picked. The kids practiced five days a week for two weeks, then shifted to three days a week after that for the start of the season. The regular season continued for nine weeks, eight games and one bye. The football field where the team practiced got a lot of use. There were five or six teams on it for every practice, working in 20- 25 yard areas (and the end zone), all taking their turns on the equipment. When the younger kids vacated at 7:30 p.m., another five teams of older kids showed up to use the field from 7:30 to 9:00.
During practice, parents sat in the stands in bunches, trying to figure out what the kids were working on. A number of parents took advantage of the track that surrounds the field, getting in some exercise, though not nearly as much as their kids. Each practice, I logged between 2-3 miles. It kept me healthy. However, what was more fun was walking each practice with two of the other dads. Did it slow us down to walk together? Yes. At the same time, it was an opportunity for all of us to downshift after a hard day’s work. My wife, whose hobby is origami and who is the most wonderfully creative person I’ve ever known, created various spirit-type items for pep rallies and game days throughout the season. She loves doing it, because she loves the atmosphere, the camaraderie of the season, and the people we get to spend fall with.
This past Saturday, my son’s elementary school had its fall festival. I ran into one of the dads from the 2010 season. It was great to see him and we talked a while. He spent the 2011 season on another field, watching his kids play on another 9-year old Mill Creek team. It will likely be the same next season. Some of the parents we see next season will be the same ones we saw this season. Some will be on other teams. It’s a fact of life. This entire group won’t be together again. One of the coaches for my son’s team lives down the street from us. His son and mine play together all the time. They were on the same team both this season and last season, but there’s no guarantee they’ll be on the same team next year.
Still, I look forward to next year. I hope my son gets picked by a team that has as many of the same kids as this year.
Because this year’s team had a wonderful group of parents.