It was a hard fought game, played fair and square. No bad calls, no unsportsmanlike conduct.....just hard, tough, physical playing from both sides of the formation line.Which is how all games should be played.
We're all standing around glowing in the light of the moon, the brightness of the reflection that shining, happy faces bring, and the smell of victory is in the air. We've taken lots of pictures already, in every possible way you can imagine. Everybody wanting to be in everybody elses pictures.
All of a sudden we hear people in all directions calling his name. Zach's name. Hollering..."Zach Helms..Hey, has anyone seen Zach?" Now there are multiple voices calling out his name and we're all turning around to see what all the commotion is about. As we turn around, we see a team member from the other team, the team who just took their first loss of this season, walking towards us through the opening of the crowd that surrounded him. He's coming towards Zach, and I'm thinking, what in the world is going on? I'm looking around and the rest of his team is already off the field. We would later find out that he was walking around asking who Number 55 was....and as he was being told, Zach's name was echoing into the night.
He walked firmly and boldly towards my son, stopped in front of him, extended his hand, and said " Hey Man, I just wanted to tell you what a great game you played tonight, I just wanted to meet you and tell you, you held me down all night long, you played a good game, congratulations". Zach shook his hand and returned the kind words. We all stood there in silence and watched as he walked off the almost empty field, towards his own team bus, as the rest of his teammates were already off the field and boarding the bus. A couple of minutes had passed and I looked at my son and said, "you should probably consider that to be one of the best highlights of your high school football career."
The humbleness and respect with which that young man carried himself and spoke was something every mother wants to know she has taught her child. He got his behind handed back to him all night long, and that he was man enough to say that, after such a gut wrenching loss was pretty amazing to this mother.