Senior year both memorable, sad

Published 4:52 pm Wednesday, November 6, 2002

By By Lindsey Sherrill
Last Friday night was my school's final football game and the senior recognition night. All of the senior football players and cheerleaders were honored before the game with an on the field recognition with their parents. Some of them cried. I did.
I know it seems crazy to get all worked up over this. It was not graduation. It was not a good-bye. It was only the end of football season. Still, we all cried because it was more than just the end of a game season; it was the end of a time in our lives, something that we all cared about, and the last of our high school football Friday nights before we all became alumni. It was somehow another step closer to the end of the lives we had know so far.
High school football season is a special time. Never at any other period does school spirit run as high nor school rivalry as deep. I've been going to games since my freshman year, but this was my first year as a real student and a real part of the spirit. I never really realized before this year just how closely the whole high school/football/teenager idea was connected. For these first twelve weeks of the school year we have eaten, breathed, dreamed, lived, and died football. The team's lose was the school's defeat and the team's win was the school's triumph.
And Friday night it all came to a close.
It was like suddenly we all realized that yes, we are seniors. This would be our last time as a direct part of that school spirit. After Friday, we'd never come to another football game as students; we would be that foreign word- "alumni." One of the players commented on Thursday that he had suddenly realized that the afternoon would be his last football practice. I think it was then that all the guys realized that this would be their last time to play and the rest of us realized that it would be the last time we would see these guys play.
I know that I'm probably coming across as sappy and melodramatic, but that's okay. Over the last few seasons, especially this one, that team of boys has become my team. This year, as I followed them throughout the season (quite literally. I spent several games running the sidelines with a camera) covering the games, I think the whole "my team" idea really sank in.
Yes, I know that this all sounds crazy, but the whole ending thing brought on an acute case of senior sappiness. I know we've got most of the year left, but after Friday night it all just seems so close. So this is for you guys. For all of you that I grew up with and those that I just met, thanks for going and playing your hearts out. Thanks for practicing and staying optimistic even when we were 0-8. Thanks for all your disgusting locker room stories, smelly, sweaty after-the-game hugs, and for being able to turn any class into a commentary on last week's game. Maybe, most of all, thanks for being "my team," for giving us all of a symbol of our school spirit, and for just giving it your best. I love you guys.

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