The trail’s head for my 25,000 mile, three month journey
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The trail’s head for my 25,000+ mile, three month journey through the back country of the High Plains came to be in Lubbock, TX, 100 miles to the west of Highway 83.
On the windy and cold Friday night of November 18, 2011, at Cooper High School, the Canadian Wildcats were eliminated from the Class A Texas state playoffs and the season’s for all of my three adopted teams were now complete.
It was a sad ending, as almost all final games of the season are, climaxing in a loss that would leave most of the senior players in tears. My class of 2012 football playing friends of McCook, NE; Linton, ND and Canadian, TX can now add their names to the long roll call of former high school football players. Most of you will never play football again.
A note of advice: you are only a high school football player once. I am glad I had the opportunity to witness this unique to America phenomena you have lived this fall: the life and times of the small town football hero. I watched each of you, the “Boys of Fall” and the pride of three towns, strut your stuff, while living the dream role of football hero. I hope you enjoyed your moment in the sun. It is, my friends, as good as it gets. Now move on. You will never be able to duplicate this magical feeling of empowerment again, and it will be sheer folly should you try.
College, marriage, children, careers; you have a full life in front of you, but those days when your mere presence on the football field held the total attention of your family, friends and neighbors - no more. Savor the memories, then move on with grace and a warm feeling of pride and accomplishment, but please, move on.