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Epilogue: No, they never did get a re-match this season. In the end though, they triumphed by winning all of their remaining games, winning their conference championship and making it to the regional finals (one win away from the super bowl in Florida) where they lost in rather grand fashion. Still, they clearly took something away from this defeat and turned it into motivation for the rest of the year.
Oh man, was there crying. This was easily THE hardest loss ever in SportsBoy’s young career in any sport. Easily. On a day when we had to travel to the opponents field to face our toughest challenge in any season, it was rainy and muddy since they play on a grass field. This uniform was clean when compared to a couple of other boys. Many had jersey’s so muddied that you could barely make out the numbers. Oh, and did they leave it ALL on the field today. Trouble was, we were without our head coach facing a team that wanted to exact revenge for a loss that ruined their season late last year. It was clear in that final quarter who wanted it more. They wanted revenge and they got it. The Falcons were up 12-0 at one point and ended up losing on the final play of the game 18-12. The final play which ended up with a 55 yard touchdown run for their one big player. Their team owned the second half. They had possession of the ball nearly 3x more than we did thanks to some risky play calling (IMHO) and turnovers. The wet conditions clearly hurt us more than them as our running backs just could not hold onto the ball and one of their players hustled like mad and made a key interception. It just killed the Falcon offense which, without the turnovers, could easily have marched down field and scored on them some more. Coaches’ oldest son was a maniac on the field. He made so many key plays and was growling and howling and doing everything he could to get this team together. His uniform was THE dirtiest. Oh, how my heart broke for the team. They played so hard, but when you give a team like theirs so so so many offensive plays, inevitably they will break one. More than half the team came off the field just sobbing, including my son. I was not having much success fighting back tears myself! I paced the sideline the whole second half and was emotionally spent myself trying to cheer them on. Oh how this hurt them.
BUT – the Hollywood screenwriter in me sees the Big Picture. Yes, Oceanside had our number today. They wanted revenge and got it. But this is not the end. This was just the 4th game of the season. 3 more to play on the schedule and then 3 more after that based on how well we do the rest of the way. There is a damn good chance we will play them again. In a much more meaningful game. And I think, and the other coaches already got the boys minds on this, that the NEXT time will be OUR turn for revenge. Those boys were sobbing because they were hurt – they have learned to hate the feeling of losing. For several of these boys, it is not something they have felt very often in this game at all. They have been blessed. But defeat teaches you lessons. It steals your resolve. It motivates you to greater heights. Wolfie will being this team back, and they will do everything they can to make sure they never hurt this way again.
And for some of you saying “it’s just a game” – I know. It is. But as I wrote earlier, this is a microcosm of life. Overcoming this hurt will give the boys the intestinal fortitude to overcome other disappointments in life. I firmly believe that they are learning lessons that will serve them well into their adult lives. So yes, there IS crying in Pop Warner football, but those are tears of determination and the Golden Falcons WILL soar again!!
They better anyway, ’cause my poor old heart cannot take anymore of this :->>