Goodbye Friday Lights

October 28, 2013

I see it in your eyes as you are standing there after the last home football game. You have a knowing and I can see it there as we hug on you after the last of the crowd goes by. It’s friday night, it’s the ending of a season in your life and you are soaking in the last moments of it. With clear eyes and full heart you are saying goodbye to high school football.
I wonder if you hear my past words somewhere in your mind. “It’s your gift,”  I’ve repeated those words for years now.
When you were just months into the very first season of football. I said them. A mother that tries to preach with encouraging words since she really doesn’t know what playing on that field is like. “It’s your God-given gift. We all have been given talent from above. God makes us each unique, gifted with a talent to use in this world and I think your’s is football.”

A mother can encourage with words like these and I’ve said them often over the years as you’ve grown from that small little football player with the white cleats when everyone else wore black ones.You had style from the start. You were called “White Shoes” by a beloved coach in those early years. Those shoes stood out so that my worried eyes could easily pick you out of a pile of boys all sprawled out on that field.  I’d see the white shoes pop right back upright and my heart breathed relief each time you’d keep on running. And always after my  proud words used  to encourage you’ve  been humble. No matter the points scored, no matter the game played, always and still humble even as a senior shining under the Friday night light.

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Still wearing those white shoes to honor that sadly missed coach who was called home to heaven too soon. I see it in your clear eyes and full heart, you are saying goodbye to high school football  as you think of all those little eagle moments. Your eyes show the knowing that lessons learned on the gridiron have gone way beyond what the score board shows. You know God works in ways you will never understand. Like the calling to heaven not only that little eagle coach but also a too young, much loved team-mate. Life is full of loss and saying goodbye is hard.

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And while your team shows amazing character by the never quit attitude and the amount of heart played with each play,still you know that it’s not really about winning or losing. You say “YOLO.”  I say it’s about using the one life God’s given you to live as full as you can because that’s how God would have it, living full in the gift. He gave you talents to live life full, to run fast, to play hard, to never give up and to just keep living. To keep popping right back up no matter how knocked down you feel. No matter the hurt of all the loss,games, coach, friend, loss is hard and it hurts. But God is always there.  In all seasons.   

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And in this Senior season God would have it that those white shoes may not have carried you to the goal of a state championship season. But  instead, those white shoes have taken you from a small sometimes scared little boy, to a young man filled with courage, character, heart, grit and pride of team. You play for The United Eagles. Because united is how your team plays. Always together, a brotherhood of boys learning life is to be lived with a heart full, and the huge amount of courage it takes to keep getting up after you’ve been on the losing end of a hard-fought game. With clear eyes full heart you are saying goodbye to high school football.

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So, as this season comes to a close and our Friday nights will never be under the lights again, I will look back on these days and remember a humble clear-eyed full heart boy filled with a love for his team, a heart filled with a love for His God and I will remember how quickly that young man grew up right before my eyes while running hard in those white shoes.

We will miss the season you shined under the lights, but look forward to  the plans God has for you in the next season. With tears in my eyes and my full heart hurting just a little, I say goodbye with you to this football season and…hello God in the next season of life without White Shoes on the football field…

 

 

Photography courtesy of Snapshot Reiter

Copyright © 2011-2013 Hello Butter images & content

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