Just like that.
Our football season is over. We lost in the first round of the playoffs. 12-6 in overtime.
While it was tough to lose a heartbreaking game like that, I was proud of the kids. They fought hard until the last play. They were prepared and they played their hearts out. Our coaching staff told them to "leave it all on the field" and they did. The kids were truly a pleasure to coach. It goes without saying that I enjoy coaching my son, Kameron. He started at tight end and cornerback for the team. He even got his first interception last week. Much like most of his teammates, I saw him develop and get better each week. We had so many kids get better from the beginning of the year. As a coach, that's what you want to see. It's not all about wins and losses. It's about watching these young 10 and 11 year olds develop into young men. Wins will come. We won 6 games and loss 3. It wasn't the season that we had expected but it was a good season nonetheless. I'd take all 28 kids and go to a battle with them. I love them just as if they are my own.
The future is uncertain...in particular...my future on the sidelines. Kameron is 11 yrs old but was able to play in our 10 and under league. He could play for the 11 and under team next year or he could play for his middle school. Unlike most of his team, he's already in middle school (6th grade). There are only 3 other kids who are in middle school on our team. We have been able to keep the core of our team together for 6 yrs. We have coached almost all of them since they were 5 yrs old. And our coaching staff has been together for 6 yrs. There are about 15 kids who make up the core. Honestly, some will be back...some won't. Some will move on to middle school football. That includes Kameron. He's expressed his desire to play for his middle school team next year. Will he do it? I'm not sure at this point. He'll make that decision next spring. If he does, then I'm not coaching. My days of coaching will be over. My youngest son, Brandon (who's 6 and under team is still in the playoffs after an 8-0 season), will continue to play if he likes but I have no desire to coach on his team. His coaches have a staff in place and they have been together for a few yrs. I enjoyed coaching with the group of men on our staff. We are close. I couldn't see me coaching with anyone else. There is a bond that extends beyond the football field.
As many of you know, I had major reservations about coaching when I was approached about it 6 yrs ago. I wasn't sure how my knowledge, experience, and love for the game could be translated to a bunch of kids. Football is my first love. I played the game for the love of it. Nothing else. But this ain't 1980. It's a different era. I didn't know if I could do it.
But I did it...and did it well. I won a championship and several divisional championships. More importantly, I was able to give myself and my time to kids. Nobody can put a dollar on how much that is worth. It's going to feel weird to not be at practice on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays at 6:30. We've been conditioning since the beginning of June and practicing since July 8th. I have free time on my hands now. Is it the end? It could be. I truly won't know until next spring but if it is...I'm ok with it. I'll hang up the whistle with pride and happiness. I'm done.
Unless Skyler plays football...