Saturday, October 20, 2012

Battle Scars And War Stories

I had originally thought last night was going to be another cry fest. I mean, I had already cried all week long for one reason or another, at the drop of a hat it seemed. Earlier in the week I attended a Volley Ball game and cried like an absolute baby. Now granted, it was a special night, it was the Volley For A Cure fundraiser night, combined with Senior Night for the Senior volley ball girls. But to sit there and bawl when I didn't even have a "dog in the fight" so to speak, was just crazy. Wasn't it? I mean from the time they called the first girls name out loud, I was done. Digging for the tissue I prayed I had the foresight to put in my purse. Heck even after the last introduction and the National Anthem began, I couldn't even sing. I had tears just absolutely streaming down my face like a waterfall. So to say I was a might bit worried about my behavior for my own child's Senior Night is an understatement to say the least.

But sometimes, fate has a way of stepping in, right when you need it. Last night we arrived at the game, everybody in tow, including my son Josh and his partner Josh, and my parents. The gang's all here. We're checking in at the gate, and all of a sudden people are calling my name, telling me don't look, hovering behind as if to block my view, and I'm thinking, what in the world is going on?! Susie Morris is telling me it will be alright, but again, don't look. Now MY people are craning their necks to see what all the ruckus is about and I'm watching their faces as one by one the expressions begin to change. I slowly turn around and am trying to focus my eyes, find #55, and all I can see is a sea of red.

But then I see one. I see one of his partners. And I know, at that very second, what to prepare myself I try to keep my breathing patterns regulated, I turn my head from one side to the other and as my eyes land and rest, like an Eagle to it's nest, my heart beats a little bit faster, and I just smile.

Earlier in the week he told me he needed a haircut. Then he re-phrased it and said he needed a hair CUT with a little more emphasis. Now I usually pride myself on being being pretty sharp intuitively, but I have to admit, this one got past me. Never saw it coming. I of course thought he meant the second time, that he wanted it cut really close, which I cannot stand, but said I would allow it AFTER Senior Night pictures were taken. Now that I look back, I should have realized there was a reason I got no arguing, balking, or use of his magical persistent persuasion powers. He seemed to take my answer at face value and just quit talking about it.

Well, you all know, just because someone doesn't say anything, doesn't mean they are acknowledging or listening. As I looked up and made face to face contact with my son last night, I saw the meanest, baddest, and most fierce Mohawk I had ever laid my eyes on. And the new "do" was complete with black war paint to boot. It's not like he hasn't done this before. And it's not like he hasn't done it without permission. But somehow tonight's timing seem to be just right. Sometime between the minute I got out of our vehicle and the emotion seemed to already be swallowing me whole, until that second I saw his head, something inside me changed. The range of emotions did a complete 360 degree turn around and all that raw blood running through my veins gained a little strength. I knew I was going to be alright.

Just that quick, Zach and those four boys showed me what that night was all about. It wasn't about crying, or feeling sad, or silently wishing the years to run backwards. It was about manhood, the last time, battle of the strengths and minds, it was about THEIR time. And making it as memorable for themselves as they possibly knew how.

When they walked out of that cold steam and into the lights of Friday Night, arm in arm, linked as brothers and teammates,  forever united they would stand, and fight to the bitter end for themselves, for each other and for their teammates. Thirteen years of brotherhood walked out onto that field, and thirteen years of brotherhood saw it through until the last crash of the helmet would leave a resounding echo through the night.

In the end, he would stand before his men and give the speech that has been groomed in his mind for the last thirteen years. A rendition of long ago, speeches past, from men just like him, almost at the end of their journey. He would stand tall, speak clearly, and address the battle scars of the night, the loss they must carry with them, and the pride that should remain in a battle well fought. Fought with heart, determination and courage. Courage to continue going when nothing is working right. The courage to keep going when you're tired and beat down. And the courage to know, you gave it everything you had, and left nothing to spare. Left no cleat unturned and the field soaked with the sweat and soul of the determination that was performed there.

That is what true manhood is all about. Nothing left to spare. That's what these young men showed all of us last night. That win or lose they will never lie down. They will never quit. They will never stop.
They will never ever give in. Because they are Warriors. They are the Winners in this thing we call life that started with eleven men and a football. This game of football holds the secrets of real life in the palm of it's hands. It teaches solidarity, trust, teamwork, pride, and united we stand, divided we fall. These are lessons they will all carry with them forever along with a brotherhood of secrets that only a player can ever understand. The keys are theirs to hold, to be coveted, to be protected, until the end of time. Without fail. Because THEY ARE...MUNROE.


  1. I cannot tell you how much I loved reading this. It is beautifully written, and touched my soul. Each time I read it I teared up a little bit more. I know you are as proud of your son as I am of mine. As mothers, seeing our boys grow up into good strong men is what life is all about. And from what I know of your son, he is the best there is. Anna Rhodes (Coach Rhodes' Mom)

  2. Mrs. Rhodes...this is by far, one of the best compliments I have ever received for anything I have ever written. This family thinks an awful lot of your son for his coaching abilities and for his personal attributes as well. He is a wonderful man and we consider ourselves and our son, very blessed to have been able to experience him, his experience, and his beautiful family this year. Thank you so much for taking the time to express yourself to me as well. If you are at the next game, I would love to meet you!