The Agony Of Defeat

This post is not funny. Or entertaining. Or even, I suspect, mildly well-written. But for me, I need to mark this moment in time. Perhaps that will make it all go by a bit more slowly.

I just watched my baby play his last high school football game last night. (that’s my youngest brother for those of you who are new here)

I didn’t know it would be his last, and neither did he. It was a playoff game, that we should have won. But… well… the point is, we didn’t.

He played a great game. And I screamed his name every time he came by my section of sideline. And my husband, my other brother and I were fanatic in face painted #21′s.

I watched him, with pride and awe and dismay at how in the hell the years have gone by so damn fast. Which I know sounds ridiculous because he’s my baby brother and at my age you wouldn’t think I’d still have siblings in high school anyway. But somehow, as I am reminded how quickly that won’t be the case, it doesn’t seem possible that either of us are that old.

When the game was over, they called for a representative from the team to come out and claim the trophy. And there he went, big and brave and a leader. He shook hands with the official, took hold of the trophy, and put his head down.

And my heart broke with his.

He and his friends, the seniors who had come so far together, lined up and locked hands. And they walked as one off the field. And again, he lowered his head.

My brain took a snapshot. One of those pictures that you know your mind will whip out on you later and you’ll tear up instantly.

And I. Lost it.

I sobbed like a freaking baby on the sidelines. It wasn’t the game, or the end of the season, or even the realization of how fucking old I am getting. It was the very idea of him being disappointed. Or God forbid, sad.
Fucking. Ouch.

The finality of it all. The idea of him walking away – forever – with a taste of disappointment and defeat. And knowing that there wasn’t a damn thing I could do to take even a little of that hurt from him.

Actually, apparently there was something I could do. He stopped by my house for gas money afterwards.

And he hugged me when I tried to hug him. And I felt small next to him. And proud. Because he was obviously disappointed, but he was OK.

So it’s official now.

Wrestling season is here.

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