But consider the flip side for a moment. The very nature of the system dictates that at each one of these levels there is but one winner. Which means, conversely, that at every level of play, every team with the exception of one ends their season with a loss. So, for instance, at the 4A level in Missouri 63 teams will finish their year on a losing note.
I had the opportunity to witness this first hand last Friday in Osceola, Missouri at the conclusion of their District Championship game against Skyline. I have been a part of this season ending ritual, as a player, as a parent, and as a coach, but I have never had the chance to sit back and observe all of this unfold like I did last Friday.
Skyline won a hard fought battle, ending Osceola’s outstanding (11-2) season. The utter joy of Skyline’s players, coaches and fans (they were on the flip side of this outcome last year) was in stark contrast to the sadness of the Osceola faithful.
I observed as the coaches choked back tears, trying to find the words to console their players, while needing consolation themselves. Senior players who suddenly realized their high school careers were over were distraught. Parents vocalized how they were not ready for this part of their family’s life to be finished. It was just unbelievably sad.
And this scene was played out at literally hundreds of locations all across Missouri … and thousands across the country… the last few weeks. And it will be replayed again and again until we crown that one single champion in each bracket.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating for an “everyone gets a medal and a hug” system. There is value in competing for a championship, lessons to be learned, and memories cherished while traversing that road… both great joy and bitter sadness.
And years from now, even the sad memories of a season hard fought, and a losing battle well waged are good memories.
I speak from experience… this is my son, Carter, and me after his season ending playoff loss his senior year in high school. I still cherish that moment in time.
Best of luck to all of the teams still battling for championships!
You Can Do More… your brain is lying to you…. Don’t Believe It!
Jeff Floyd – firstname.lastname@example.org