Sunday, October 23, 2011

and so it ends

The Mustangs played the best, undefeated team for their last game of the season.  The Hawks would be ranked #1 even if they lost against us.  In that was our hope.  They didn't even have to try in this game.  Maybe they would use this opportunity to try new plays, rest players so they didn't get hurt.  Maybe we could squeak out a win that would be the stuff legends are made of.  Our boys were pumped and motivated to go out with a bang.  That was not the way this story would end.

Final score was around 39-0.  I'm not even sure the exact score because I stopped keeping track.  The entire game our boys tried to hold them.  The entire game was viciously won by those small moments.  My poor boy missed two tackles that resulted in touchdowns.  IF only he had run faster.  IF only he had predicted the angle better.  IF only that other player wasn't so dang fast. 

D went out with a bang, but he couldn't see it.  He played center this game.  I could never get a picture of my guy in the lineup because he's buried behind all those bigger kids.  But every time, like poetry, he snapped with accuracy, and was the first to block.  Instantaneous perfection. 

A larger player was taken out, and D was subbed in defensive line on a goal line stance.  It took the other team four tries within the 5 yardline, but they scored.  D took a stiff arm to the face, and the other team scored.  On one play, he dove, missed, and got kicked in the face.  I'm sure it was followed by the other team scoring, but I lost track.

They punted, they passed, they blocked.  It just wasn't enough.

During the post game wrap up, my poor boy wouldn't take off his helmet because tears were streaming down his face.  He followed up that afternoon with an email to the coaches that he was sorry he let them down.  I'm pretty sure the coaches didn't see that gesture as one of defeat, but one of strength.

Cameron and Dominic

I just hope he will see that and continue to strive for greatness.  I hope they all continue to strive for greatness.

Ahhh... but there is a part two to this story....

The Hawks are a pretty conceited team.  Sure, they have every reason to be, but children are instilled with the values parents and coaches project on them.

Rumors have run that this team bows to the fans after the game.  Cute, right?!  Turns out it's not cute at all.  They don't bow to their parents and fans, they bow to the opposing teams parents and fans.

Fortune on our side, our fans cleared out rather quickly. When the Hawks returned to the sideline, removed their helmets, and prepared for the gloating gesture, most of our fans were gone.  The coach then instructed they all move over... so they could be seen from behind the stadium, by all those walking to the parking lot.  Sport chants followed, such as number one, woot woot, and loser.

Being one of the very few left in the stands, I witnessed a mass crowd to my left standing up and encouraging the players to scream their praises.  When all had settled, my lone voice rang out "pooooor sportsmanship!"

Among the indignant musings I heard a single voice yell back "...because you're a loser.  A f***ing loser."  Wow.  Youth sports.

I am so grateful my son had such a great team of boys this season.  I am even more grateful that his coaches encouraged strength of character, and challenging yourself.  I would rather he be on a team that loses with it's head held high than a team that gloats in their win.

I will be at the CCYF junior division championship in a few weeks.  And, by the grace of good, if someone can beat those Hawks, I will remember to take a moment to bow to their parents.

Mustang power!

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