Friday, August 30, 2013

and so we begin.

Tonight a few thousand people dressed proudly in purple and gold will flood the stands of the football stadium. Parent volunteers bustle preparing hotdogs and burgers, nachos and sodas behind the concessions windows. The boys fill the locker room, pre-game rituals and pep talks, the Lord's Prayer. My nerves beg to be occupied, for me to find an outlet for my worries and hopes.  As the preseason performances begin, my mind wanders, emotional, to thoughts of my family, our history and our futures. Of course I am hoping tonight will bring a win and that at the end of the season we'll be celebrating in St. Louis once again. But more than anything, I hold my breath that he'll walk off the field safe and happy. I know he'll be bruised and sore, but dear God, please watch over him.

This is my brother's final year of high school football--the seasons of flag football with markings on his tiny hands to designate right from left, through the evenings in the parks for practice, the Saturdays at the fields, through to his first Friday night game three years ago, the wins, the losses, the concussions, the bruises, and a state title, it's been a hell of a ride.  Whether or not he goes on to play in the seasons to come, we sure have enjoyed watching him do what he loves all these years.

Meanwhile, the pre-game performances are closing and the band plays the fight song. The team tears through the tunnel, through that paper banner.  Kickoff. Go-Cats-Go.

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