It gets me every time

Nov. 17, 2013 @ 07:08 AM

We all have those movies that move us every time we watch them. We have those moments in our lives the evoke emotion whenever they pop up in our minds. And we all have those situations that we find ourselves in that hit us the hardest.

As a sports writer I don't often find myself in miserable situations, which is why I chose sports journalism. I could easily be a crime reporter or breaking news reporter, but I'd rather stay away from murder, crime and death. I just can't do it.

So in sports I get to avoid those things, however, the job has its own aspects that I'll never get used to.

I just wrapped up my second season of football and soccer here in Rutherford County and with the end of a season comes disappointment.

Chase head football coach Daniel Bailey told me this week that coaching is comprised of the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. As a sports writer, I witness those highs and lows.

It's exhilarating for me when a team wins a big game in a dramatic fashion. I get to run onto the field and talk to these players and coaches when emotions are running high.

I see the pride on a coaches face and witness kids making memories that they'll never forget.

On the flip side, I'm there when these coaches and kids fail to reach their goals.

Last fall I traveled to Polk County High School to watch East Rutherford football play the Wolverines in the opening round of the state playoffs. The Cavaliers lost a game that they had in their pocket at halftime.

After the game I made my way to the field and waited for the postgame huddle to break so I could speak with head coach Clint Bland.

As I waited I saw the faces of young men crying because the season was over. For many of them, their football careers were over. They've put in countless hours of work, dealt with numerous injuries and poured themselves into a sport and a season that was over in the blink of the eye.

It took everything I had not to be emotional for those young men, but I made it through. On the drive back to the office I told myself that I was glad to get that experience out of the way. I figured that was the last time that type of scene would impact me. I was wrong.

Just this past week I saw two seasons come to an end for two programs, Thomas Jefferson soccer and football.

The soccer team battled through injuries and close calls throughout the playoffs and made it to the regional final, one game before the state title match.

The Gryphons fell to North Moore in overtime on a bitter cold and windy night in Rutherford County.

Now I didn't cover much of their season, but the sadness on the faces of those players was incredibly evident. They came so far and now it was over.

Just weeks earlier I witnessed the Chase Trojans soccer program get knocked out of the playoffs in a 2-1 overtime loss to Shelby, a team they beat twice in the regular season.

The excitement in Henrietta for this team was off the charts. And just as the team seemed to be on a meteoric rise en rout to a potential state title, the run was over.

The players were distraught but head coach Greg Deshommes said calmly, "Soccer is a cruel game."

And just hours ago I watched the most successful season in Thomas Jefferson football history end on a sloppy field in Avondale.

Everyone in Gryphons Stadium anticipated the first playoff win in school history, but the Wildcats of Andrews High School had other plans and downed the Gryphons, 34-15.

The rain-soaked crowd was shocked as the two teams met separately on the field after the game. The Andrews side of the field was mobbed with exulted fans and players while the Thomas Jefferson side was dead silent as fans in maroon and gold headed for the gates.

I can't help but feel for those kids in that moment. I know they always tell you "it's just a game," and that's true, but these kids love these games. And for a large number of them there is no next season.

With that said, I don't think I'll ever be numb to the agony of defeat. I may not be directly involved with the teams, but it wasn't too long ago that I was one of those kids — I know it hurts. And yes, there are much worse things in life that can happen, I've experienced plenty of them, but as a sports writer this is about as bad as it gets for me.