I did a virtual double take and smiled broadly after reading a key phrase in oldercoach's terrific post. Do "only the playoffs matter?" Is the blood, sweat, tears and brotherhood over many months from so many wonderful young men across the commonwealth reduced to--"yeah, but Beechwood will put a running clock on them in the 2nd quarter?"
As a regular reader of 1A posts in particular, I get it...Beechwood is an outstanding football team that is the prohibitive favorite not only to win the 1A title but to do so in devastating style. And I respect what they've done, who they are this year and how this powerhouse program has rinsed and repeated for so long a period. It's noteworthy, admirable and factual. And they schedule to continue the domination.
And yet tomorrow night under those magical lights, and in front of friends and family, a bunch of hard working kids in small towns and big cities, extraordinary kids who've sacrificed and dreamed will become district champions.
Maybe they played up, maybe they played largely similar teams to themselves. I love the conversation and the analysis of how they do it. It keeps the mind active and the heart beating between Friday nights.
But in the end, what counts truly is the game and the young men. In the end, it's the way the lights shine off your teammates helmets in the waning seconds of a championship game steam rising collectively from your late October huddle and what it is like to experience that moment. In the end, it's the trust and love you build in this sport above all others that matters when you're blessed to win a championship...any championship.
That's what seniors especially think about. When you've played the game many Fridays ago, maybe you remember it. That's what senior parents get emotional about. Because in mid to late October, you can see the end of the pathway and the bittersweet conclusion to an incredible journey no matter how far in the playoffs you'll go.