Durkee: And it's all over ...
There’s something about the playoffs that ignites such an excitement, which baffles me because it means that at any point your season can very well end.
If this past Friday night proved anything, it’s that the attitude surrounding a team can be changed s dramatically and so quickly.
This time last week and even this time Friday morning, nearly the entire county was itching with anticipation for kickoff. And know as I type this late Friday night, the Rutherford County football season is over.
There won’t be practice on Monday for any team. There won’t be film sessions all week for players and coaches. Public address announcers won’t be struggling with name pronunciations next Friday night. Cheerleaders won’t be painting banners laced with puns utilizing the opposing mascot and I won’t be previewing the weeks match-ups.
The end of football season means so much for so many different people. It’s a time of year where local businesses are filled with buzz about their favorite players or coaches that fans believe eed to be fired. Parents are compiling stats for their kids and calling me when I misspell their name or don’t give them credit for a catch because the ‘9’ on their jersey lot like an ‘8’ when it’s all bunched up.
I’ll have to wait until next year to hand out more Player of the Week awards and ask kids fun questions about their everyday likes and dislikes. I’ll have to wait until next season to walk through a smelly locker room in order to talk with a coach. And hopefully I’ll retain the information on how to write up a decent-looking box score.
In my first season covering high school football I’ve seen my share of memorable moments. From game-winning touchdowns in overtime to fourth quarter comebacks in the County Championship
Now it’s over.
I knew the time would come where the football would be stored away in their respective equipment roons and the jerseys would be washed one final time until next August, I just didn’t know how surreal it would feel. And I don’t even suit up on Fridays.
I just sit behind a window in my slacks and collared shirt while young men bleed and sweat on a field for themselves, their families, their schools and for pride.
As I walked down onto the field Friday night after East Rutherford lost to Polk County things were really put into perspective.
I knew I would have to wait another year before I’d do another postgame interview on football Fridays, but when I saw the faces of those that were taking off their high school colors for the final time in their lives; I realized how good I have it. I realized what theses fall nights truly mean
I felt for these young men who would have to load the bus with tears in their eyes and ride home thinking about what they could have done to ensure that they survived to play another week.
I just shift gears to basketball while some of these boys will never put on a set of shoulder pads ever again.
It amazes me how a sport, a game, can mean so much to so many people. I think it’s beautiful. This is why I wanted to do what I do.
A county coach told me earlier this week that football is a game of ups and downs, but more importantly, it’s a game of life. He couldn’t of been more right.