Once the season is over, I'm ready to escape the game for awhile. Then, at some point I will come back to it.
It is hard to put into words the pain of the end. When you make the playoffs, you realize that only one team will end without a killing. But you jump in with both feet and fight like crazy to stay alive.
What a great season for our team- it feels good to exceed expectations. The low point was after game 5- but to our kids and coaches credit, we never stopped working and turned it around. We won 7 in a row, won the region title, and ended up a state quarter-finalist.
But that last loss, man... it hurts.
We did not play well in the last game. Not sure why. We had a good week of practice. We took the opening drive down and scored, but even that drive wasn't without mistakes.
We had several assignment busts the rest of the game and we were a beat up team physically. In the end, the other team out performed us, especially their Mr Football running back.
In the locker room afterward, it was really sad. Our guys truly loved the game and one another. We had all the Srs line up and all the other guys came by and hugged them. Our seniors handled it well. They were sad, but did not grieve like their life was over. There was strength and brokenness. They were real in their hurt, free to cry... but showed a lot of dignity also. No blubbering silliness.
The hurt I feel is different. It goes deep. Every loss I have ever suffered as a head coach wounds me to the bone. I truly hate to lose.
When we lose the last one, it hits me for about 2 weeks. I go on living, treat my family well, put on a warm outer front. But inside, I play the game over and over. What would I do differently?
But I am healed now. My mental game is now re-working system- dreaming and scheming- ready to do it all again.
My prayer is that I never lose my desire to put the process under the direction of Christ. I hope that through the joy and sorrow, I continue to preach and model the gospel. Without it, this is all just phantasms of futility.
May God be glorified in victory and in loss.