I find it hard to believe, but the high-school football season is finally over.
If you weren’t at the Tacoma Dome over the weekend, you missed quite a curtain call.
They’ll be buzzing about the Skyline-O’Dea 3A final for a long time. It was a classic. If you’re a Skyline fan, you focus on the crazy comeback. If you’re an O’Dea fan, you might be dwelling on the colossal collapse. I tend to be more of an optimist than pessimist, the glass-half-full type rather than half-empty.
So, I see that one as Skyline digging deep to find a way to win, rather than O’Dea finding a way to lose.
All of the championship games were emotional, but none more than the 3A and 4A finals. There is something rather heartwarming about interviewing high-school players who have just realized their championship dreams. And something equally heartwrenching about interviewing the players who have had those dreams dashed.
While the Skyline players were jumping for joy, their O’Dea counterparts were slumping to the turf in tears. Sure victory ended up in unbelievable defeat.
Is there a more difficult way to lose?
Burlington-Edison (2A) and Toutle Lake (2B) suffered lopsided losses. No doubt, it didn’t feel good. But those players had plenty of time during the game to get used to the idea that the outcome wasn’t going to be what they might have envisioned.
O’Dea was blindsided. Bothell, too. Now, the Cougars didn’t allow a big lead to get away from them, but they were the clear favorites against an unheralded Lewis and Clark team from Spokane. O’Dea, on the other hand, was a slight underdog against Skyline. Had the Irish trailed 28-7, then come back to lose by a touchdown, their disappointment probably would have been easier to swallow.
I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a more distraught group of players than Bothell’s kids Saturday night. More than one told me he thought it was his fault they lost. I assured each of them that wasn’t the case. The Cougars won 13 as a team and lost that one together, too.
For many of the players on the losing side last weekend, the postgame tears were more about the realization that they will never play together again than the actual loss. Team sports build incredible bonds, some of which last for life.
So, it’s over. Another high-school football season in the books. I’m ready for basketball, wrestling, gymnastics and boys swimming. But I can’t help but think ahead to the next football season and who might end up back in the Tacoma Dome the first weekend of December 2008. Tom says he’ll be taking a look at that in Tuesday’s blog, so check back.
For now, please share any final thoughts you might have on the 2007 season before we close the book.
— Sandy Ringer