High school athletics, in my mind, are the purest form of sport there is. While there is an underlying desire for a scholarship, the main driving force is simply the love for the game they play. However, high school football has an unusual cruelness that other high school athletics don’t possess. When the clock hits zero on the final game of your senior season, that’s it. For a lot of seniors, that will be their final organized football game for the rest of their lives.
At the time of this writing, I had just witnessed my high school alma mater, Ortonville Brandon, lose to Notre Dame Prep in the Division 4 District Finals. Losing, on its lonesome, is incredibly difficult to deal with. However, being on the sidelines and watching some of the guys I had became really great friends with completely break down at the finality of their loss was hard to deal with. Having to see the seniors line up on the goaline, tears flowing from friends and family alike, was heartbreaking.
I was in their position last season; an account I wrote about previously. I know how much it hurts. Most don’t realize that this really is the end. For a basketball player, you can join a recreation league, or play a game of pickup basketball anytime you’d like. As for Hockey players, they can join a beer league or recreation league themselves. Football players don’t have that luxury.
While some would argue that football is just a game, allow me to demonstrate something: Imagine you try something new because all of your friends tell you that it might be something you enjoy. You give it a go, and you end up completely immersing yourself in that activity. One day, you find out that you can never do that thing ever again. The last medium that allowed you to participate in this activity has dissolved.
That feeling of no longer being able to partake in an event or activity you love can be soul crushing. It’s a feeling that can stick with you for a while. For the seniors who will no longer play the game they grew up in, there’s likely no chance they ever get a chance to have real closure with the game of football.
To all of the seniors at Ortonville Brandon, in the state of Michigan, and across the country who have seen their high school careers end, you have a lot to be proud of. It may or may not have ended the way you envisioned it ending, but it will be okay. You may feel hurt right now, but if you focus on what you accomplished, that pain will go away eventually. As a result, you can remember all of the good the game of football gave you.
Photo Credit: MLive.com