One Last Ride
The whistle screamed out through the field, blaring through my ears. My eyes glared at the scoreboard ticking down. Tears welled up in my eyes.
The head referee returned the ball to the turf, sounding his whistle. The offense approached the line to hike the ball. Taking one last glance around the stadium, I attempted to soak in the moment, a moment I never planned on forgetting. Life changes, but I wanted to appreciate the good and the bad, the beginnings and the endings.
The center snapped the ball; the quarterback dropped to a knee. The game ended and my senior season came to a close. Each side congratulated the other on the hard-fought battle. I walked up to the opposing team, players whom I had battled many times before, congratulated them, and wished them luck in the next round. “Represent the MAC conference well,” I told them.
Turning around I gazed at the crowd, hearing the hallowed cheers. I closed my eyes; a lump in my throat stopped me from consoling my teammates. The whole game replayed in my mind and I thought about what went wrong. My mind clouded knowing I couldn’t change what had happened.
I took a knee next to my teammates, guys whom I had known my entire lifetime. I witnessed the tears flow down their cheeks as I held mine back. I put my arm around my teammate David, an underclassman who gave his heart out on the field that night. I tried to appreciate the final moments we had together.
Finally, our coach began his speech; then he gave the floor for the seniors to speak. My friend John began his own speech detailing how he didn’t even know if he’d get to play following his knee injuries.
The moment hit me. My head sunk. Tears rolled down my cheeks. I bawled my eyes out. I loved football, and felt the big hole it left in my life as I departed the field.
We walked toward the gate to the awaiting Saber fans, wanting to congratulate their boys one last time. I talked with my friends leaving the field, grateful for having a final season, that due to Covid, we thought we’d never get.