Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Enjoy the moment

It was hot a couple of weeks ago when I visited Poteau’s practice to take a few pictures.

Actually, it was more than hot. This was one of those early practice with the players dressed out in shorts, tee shirts and helmets. No full pads, yet.

Those weren’t ideal conditions for being outside, let alone practicing football with a heat index of around 110. But I heard the players laughing when they weren’t doing drills and enjoying what they were doing, which is how it should be.

And I wanted to tell them to lap it up, enjoy it to the fullest because one day soon, there will be no more football practices, games or teammates and all they will have left are the memories and the friendships.

My high school years were among the best ones in my life. Yes, that is probably sad and makes me shallow, but it is true.

I got to play football, basketball and baseball. I also got to see my friends all the time and was part of something special. I have read the bonds a person makes serving in the military are the strongest.

That’s understandable. You are trying to keep your buddy alive and another friend is doing his (or her) best to make sure you live to fight another day.

Being on a football field with your friends and teammates is not like fighting somebody who wants to kill you, but there will always be something linking me to those guys.

I have made many friends over the years since leaving Heavener High School. Some have remained friends, others have vanished into the shadows of adulthood.

But the friends I made in school and out on the football field, basketball court and baseball diamond are still there. When you go through something as tough as a football practice when it is well over 100 degrees together or keep fighting and clawing to win a game you probably shouldn’t, that makes it special.

These were all team sports, of course. Nobody could win a football, basketball or baseball game by himself. It takes 11, five or nine all working together and helping each other out to win.

Sometimes at the end of the night, our team would have more points or runs than the other team. Other times, we didn’t. There were times we got spanked rather roughly. But the next day, or couple of days later, we were back out there again.

Until the games ended. I can still remember, 31 years later, how each sport ended. Stigler was it in football, Poteau in basketball and Vian in baseball.

I can’t remember what I ate for dinner two nights ago, but I do remember the feeling at the end of all those games, knowing that was the last time we would play that particular sport.

And it hurt.

Now, I seldom see most of those old friends or teammates. Unfortunately, it usually takes a funeral for us to get together.

That is why I hope all those young men and women, especially the seniors, enjoy this year and make the most of it before they move on to college, jobs, family and being an adult.

No comments:

Post a Comment