Monday, November 18, 2013

Just Not in the Cards

Heritage lost the state championship game on Saturday. 
 It was stressful, tearful, crazy, and in the end--disappointing.  I was so stressed out that I took zero pictures during the game and Brad only took a few when it was over. 

I was happy that I finally got the one shot I've been after all season: the three team captains--all three seniors--walking across the field to meet the opposing team's captains for their last coin toss.
 There's something about the determination on their faces and the swagger in their strides.  Knowing these boys personally, there is much to admire about all three of them--so much more than just pads and helmets.  All three of these boys had great last games, and all three should be proud of the way they played.

Sometimes, things just don't fall your way.  Sometimes, mistakes cost games, and a few big mistakes in this biggest of games cost Heritage their fourth state championship trophy--24-20 at the buzzer.

The final game of senior year is an emotional time even in the best of circumstances, but when the loss is that painful, that personal--even the toughest can't keep it under control.  Ben had an amazing game, truly.  With the score 8-0 in the third quarter, Ben was the first to put the Heroes on the board with a fifteen-yard touchdown reception.  He caught passes and blocked defenders and made tackles and attempted extra points and led his team. He rarely rested, and he left everything he had on the field. But in the end, it just wasn't enough.

As the Eagles took their final victory formation and then let the clock run down, I searched the field for number 5.  As the teams lined up facing each other across the fifty yard line for the trophy presentations, I searched the sea of white jerseys for my player.  As the announcer named the Eagles' MVP of the game (an award that could have easily been Ben's had Heritage won), I searched the now-helmetless heads for my MVP. As the fans streamed onto the field, I searched the team huddle for my son.  As the huddle dissolved, I searched the disappointed and deflated and defeated masses for my son's face.

And he searched for me.
thanks for this photo, Kathryn

I will never forget that moment in time--a precious moment and a private conversation that marked the end of seven years of football.  Seven years of learning.  Seven years of practicing.  Seven years of cheering.  Seven years of winning and losing.  Seven years of growing up.  

Seven years of football.  One city title (ninth grade).  Two state titles.  One state runner-up.  Bruises, gashes, concussions, charley horses, exhaustion.  Plays, strategy, teamwork, leadership, brotherhood.

I'm so proud of you, Ben.  Of the things you've learned.  Of where you've been.  And of where you're headed.


  1. Wat a heart breaker. Love the photos, so glad you caught the hug and the team captains. I love that in each of the hug photos you can see the person taking the picture of the other side of the hug. Congratulations to Ben on so many awesome years of football and accomplishments-- on and off the field!

  2. Ah, such a crusher! It sounds like he has learned more than plays and blocks. He's learned being part of a team.

    I love the pictures. He is such a handsome young man.

  3. Isn't being a mother a grand experience?

    Reading this reminded me of that.


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