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The Last Moments

Looking back at our last game for the football season from one player's perspective

Photo by courtesy of Mrs. Guarino

Photo by courtesy of Mrs. Guarino

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Teammates are like family members. We work together as a unit and all shoot for the same goal. We win as a team, and we lose as a team. That’s the way it is in sports. Joining the Patchogue Medford Raiders for my senior year of high school was like coming home, even though I was the new guy in a new school.

My teammates and coaches welcomed me from the start and made me feel as though I had been their quarterback for years, and I will never forget how they made me feel and the effort they gave. I am thankful to have been a part of this team. We are all disappointed with our losing record but no one regrets stepping on that field, and working together in pursuit of the same goal. We all wanted to win and we all shared the same disappointment with each loss.

Each loss hurt, but the last game cut the deepest. We had mounted a comeback in the last quarter against Walt Whitman, and for the first time in weeks we had the football with a chance to win the game in the closing minutes. We had pulled it all together and we all knew that a victory was possible, until our hopes came to an abrupt end with a sack and a fumble.

The loss hurt most of all because it was the last time we would be playing together as a team, a family. Months of practice, conditioning, weightlifting, sprints, and summer speed training- a commitment we all made willingly. We put ourselves out there every week. We gave it our best and there is no shame in that, regardless of the outcome.

We all thought we were prepared for the season to end, until the last whistle blew. At that moment, the bitterness of a losing season took a backseat for the first time. The end of the season marked the end of our team- the end of the camaraderie, the end of working with our coaches and the mutual trust that had bound us together. It ended, and for the seniors who had been honored with their families prior to the game, it was their last moment in uniform as a Patchogue Medford Raider football player.

We all hugged, we cried, and we lingered on the sideline as long as possible because no one was ready to remove his uniform for the last time. Once in the locker room, we would be stripping off the uniforms and equipment that had protected and united us as one, and we would never step on that field again as a team.

There is nothing quite like knowing it is our last game playing the sport you’ve loved your whole life. It’s an empty feeling. However, it doesn’t truly hit you for a little bit. Then, suddenly, you’re driving home and you realize you have worked your whole life up to this point for this. However, one phrase that makes it all worthwhile is “Once a Raider, always a Raider.”

 

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The Last Moments