It’s So Much More Than A Game
By Jared Conques
Friday night, under the local stadium’s lights. You can hear the band’s drumline start their cadence as the crisp fall air tickles your nostrils with each breath. Fall has arrived and with it, high school football season. The boys of fall take the field, but for those of us who have strapped on the shoulder pads and buckled our helmets, it is anything but a game.
Boys become men over the course of a 10 week season and the lessons learned last for a lifetime. One of the biggest lessons I took away from my years on the football field, and continue to implement today, is the lesson of always being ready to step up, even if you aren’t a starter.
I faced this lesson in my sophomore year as a starter was injured and I was thrust into the starting role for an upcoming game. My preparation had met its opportunity and I was able to do my part to help my team during that week. Little did I understand that this lesson would prove fruitful later in my life.
Fast forward to this year…I lost my father-in-law unexpectedly this summer. As you can imagine, this was a tremendous and difficult blow to our family. When things were in disarray with my family, someone needed to step up. I was prepared and took leadership of some of the things that needed to be taken care of to make the grieving process as easy as it could be during this tumultuous time. While I may have not been expecting to be ushered into this position, I was prepared to do what I needed to do to move the team, or the family in this case, forward.
It’s crazy, looking back on it though. All that time when I was younger, I thought they were preparing us for the upcoming week’s game. In reality, we were being prepared to take on life and the challenges that lay ahead in our adult lives. When viewed through this lens, it’s much easier to see how football is much more than a game for those young men on the fields across Acadiana every Friday night.