Sadness greets end of football season
My pear tree is now Cardinal red and glorious in the late afternoon sunlight, which reminded me that this time last Friday night we were on our way to Girard, along with most of Eudora to watch the mighty Cards bring home another victory.
Reveling in their first unbeaten regular season since 1948 and now two games into the playoffs, our hopes were high that this would be the year our team might go all the way.
But, it wasn't to be, and as the team walked silently from the field after their loss, I hoped they knew that the community thanks them for their hard work in practice, training and conditioning that went into so many nights where they made winning look so easy.
Needless to say, it was easy for the spectators to cheer them on as we sat comfortably in our snuggly blankets and woolen hats and mittens, but quite another to be on the field trying to bounce back after each grueling play.
As I watched the players come off the field throughout the game last Friday, pulling off their helmets to expose hair wet with perspiration even on that bitter cold night, I was once again struck by the youth of these boys and the effort they were expending to winning just one more.
As my son, a onetime football coach himself, commented on the long drive home breaking the gloom of defeat, "You have to remember no matter what the stakes, these are just two busloads of kids playing a game on a Friday night."
That did put it in perspective, but I always feel for our Cardinals who have come so close in the last few years only to be disappointed in the playoffs, and especially for the seniors who may be back next year only as spectators.
Now it is time to focus on the positive plays, the completed passes and long runs down the field to score touchdowns and to let the not-so-positive plays become a thing of the past.
We should personally thank each player and congratulate them for the games they won. Win or lose, the community thanks them and coach Gregg Webb and his coaching staff for yet another awesome year of football.
Another ending and new beginning for our country came this week as well, when the Democrats gained control of the U.S. House and the Senate for the first time in several administrations.
Meeting with friends for breakfast this past weekend, we were surprised by their greeting.
"I suppose you have come to gloat."
Coming from old friends who I thought would think better of us, I was reminded how often we had avoided the subject of politics in the past few years.
I responded by saying that I believe now the monkey is on the back of the Democrats as they have inherited a legacy that will require wisdom and non-partisanship in both houses of Congress.
Once the ice was broken, we were able to communicate in other areas of agreement which included the distaste we all felt for the attack on Michael J. Fox by a well known Republican extremist who suggested that Fox exaggerated his symptoms of Parkinson's disease on television in order to make a case for stem cell research.
John Kerry's controversial remark on a college campus stating that the students should stay in school or they might end up in Iraq was also discussed. Whether it was a Freudian slip, taken out of context of a prepared speech or directed as a joke at the administration, it did seem to insult the intelligence of our men and women who have been serving our country these long months in Iraq.
I suggested that Kerry might have done well to apologize for such a remark, and at the same time make the case that many of our young people do not have the same opportunity as our more privileged youth to go to college. As a result, they join the military as a chance for an education as well as a way out of small towns where opportunities for employment are limited.
It was good to have this open exchange after months of avoiding such a discussion with our friends and to find that all of us had crossed over on various candidates -- most of us not voting a straight party ticket.
As we were leaving, I quoted the words of an old Billy Dean song, which I have probably mentioned here before but think it still seems appropriate, "There ain't no good guys, there ain't no bad guys, there's only you and me and we just disagree."