Friday Night Lights . . . Are Off

It wasn’t supposed to end like this. At least not in our minds.

After going undefeated and claiming the region championship, we lost in the first round of the playoffs, to the team that we had just beat the week earlier.

We could blame ourselves as the coaches. We could blame the refs. And we could blame luck (like we one of our players forced a fumble near the end zone, and it bounced right to one of the opponents linemen, who fell on the ball for a touchdown).

But it just wasn’t our night. (And not just us. The top 3 seeds in our playoff bracket all lost.)

Moving Past the Hurt

The loss hurt. It hurt the players. It hurt the coaches, for the sake of the players, especially the seniors.

But we must move on. The coaches reminded the players that they need to focus on school, and for the younger guys to start getting ready for next year. And we reminded them that losing this game does not make them losers.

These men have a lot to be proud of. And undefeated season and a region championship is nothing to shake a pom-pom at.

A Great Year For Our Family

Late last Friday night, well after the game was over, Joanna and I were talking in our kitchen. It was less than a year ago when Coach Ford offered me a spot on the coaching staff. What’s funny to us now is that, at that time, we weren’t sure if taking the job was the right decision. Was it something we needed to be a part of? we wondered last November.

Now it seems like such a silly question. When we look back on 2012, we can see all the wonderful relationships and opportunities that we had through me being a coach. We connected with coaches, players, parents, and other community members. Some of the football players served alongside us in camps this summer. I had plenty of Conversations in the Car. I was able to help some with homework and projects.

I laughed, “What exactly would I have been doing with all my time had I not been coaching the past 4 months?” Although Joanna will be glad to have me home at dinner time, she knew that me coaching was a good thing.

If I have any regrets it’s that I wish I was able to coach these graduating seniors for more than one season.

For the next few months, I’m going to miss hanging out with the coaches and players. I’m going to miss taking kids home after practice. I need to look for ways to stay connected with them in and after school.

As I left the locker room last Friday night, I shook Coach Ford’s hand and told him, “Thank you for asking me to join your staff.” He said, “No problem. And we’re going to need you again next year.”

Looking forward to that!

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