Football flashback comes just in time for kickoff

col-tbuzz (2)I got hit in the face by Facebook the other day in the form of an old football picture posted by a friend. Staring me in the face was a long lost and forgotten photo of what I affectionately call “the greatest 0-10 youth football team ever to take the gridiron.”

The 1978 Donelson-Hermitage Warriors, God bless our souls, were thoroughly bashed, thrashed and trashed in virtually every game we played. Outmatched by much bigger, stronger and faster foes, it wasn’t unusual for us to lose 40, 50, even 60 to 0.

Yet there we were, smiling for the camera during a welcome break from preseason practice. If we knew what we were about to get into, maybe we wouldn’t have been saying cheese so loudly and proudly. I’m sure the team photo would have been a lot smaller.

But now that 35 years later, we can laugh about those weekly beatings without it hurting too much. I played quarterback, which probably explains why we were so bad, and I may have taken the brunt of the abuse, but I wouldn’t trade those memories for anything.

After a few of us had been successfully tagged, we started passing around old stories about our blowouts, about who was living where now, and about who had passed away. I didn’t know at the time this picture was taken that the skinny kid sitting to my left would become my best friend for many years before he died way too young and suddenly.

The one thing that struck me most about the photo was the hopeful in our eyes even though we should have known we were in for a long season. That’s part of the beauty of this magical time of year; all teams and players have high hopes for a great season.

You can almost feel that hope dripping in the humid August air as teams are preparing for kickoff. Two-a-days, suicide sprints, up-and-downs while sweat pours from your helmet and stings your eyes, your lungs burn and your legs feel like rubber bands.

OK, so those days I do not miss, yet I yearn for football season every year it rolls around. It’s not just the chance to watch football again, although I love grilling out and catching college football on cool Saturday night. It’s the chance to experience football, to see the drama of the unscripted drama unfold on the gridiron stage.

Enjoy these days, football fans, and players should cherish every time you get to step on the field. Relish the chance to compete and form bonds under fire with teammates that last a lifetime and make the most of every moment because they do not last forever.

That’s what football season is really about.

warriors

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