Final Game

Posted On November 5, 2022

I used to complain about the amount of time I spent on the sidelines of my children’s sports. Today I worry that those days are running out too quickly. And – a special think yo to a listener.


Randy Fowler came to my house Saturday morning with his daughter Julie. Randy was in Mobile from Tuscaloosa to see his grandson’s football game and wanted to meet me – his daughter, Julie, lives a few doors down. Randy listens to these Keepin’ It Real commentaries each Friday morning sitting in his car outside 5 Java in downtown Tuscaloosa and then goes inside to visit with his buddies. I assume he’s listening right now his car, so…

Good morning, Randy. Thanks so much for your kind gift. I’ve not opened it yet, but I will soon, and I plan to save some of it for the two of us to share when I’m next in Tuscaloosa. My oldest son will be a freshman there in the fall and I suspect I’ll be in town from time to time. Your gift was generous and a complete surprise and has lifted my spirits all week. Again, thank you so very much.

That son of mine, by the way, is my favorite oldest son. I’ll say it again so you get it – he’s my favorite oldest son. Anyway, he’s a high school senior and he begins pursuit of a football championship tonight. He’s a wide receiver. It’s the playoffs and anything can happen. If tonight is his last game, I’ll be very sad for him and his classmates and, frankly, for my wife and me. We’ve loved watching him play. Each time the ball winds up in his hands my heart swells with pride and my body clenches in fear that he’ll be hurt. No different than any other parent with a child on the field, I suppose.

After the game we’ll find him on the field after the team huddle and take a picture. It’s what we do. He’ll offer us very few words about the game and he’ll be covered in dirt. Bruises will be forming that, by tomorrow, will be a deep eggplant color. My wife, me, my favorite oldest son, and my favorite youngest son. He’s a freshman on the team. His uniform will probably be clean – his playing time has not yet arrived. We’ll be shoulder to shoulder for the camera. My wife and me smiling, regardless of the game’s outcome. My son’s expressions will depend entirely on the scoreboard.

If it’s my oldest son’s final game, I’ll be so sad to not be able to watch him Friday nights anymore. He’s the very best version of himself on that field. He has a charisma that surfaces when the game starts and I can feel it all the way in the stands.

However, at the same time, it will be one season closer to watching my youngest son step into the role of a difference-maker on the field which he’s working hard for. His time will come and it’s getting closer.

I’m regularly surprised by how much parenting can be such a rapid-fire complex mixture of emotions. Happy. Sad. Eager. Reluctant. All at the same time. I used to complain about how much time I spent on the sidelines of my kids’ sports. Now I fear that those days will be over too soon.

Oh, if you’re wanting a shout out on one of these commentaries, a nice bottle of scotch helps. Thanks again, Randy.

I’m Cam Marston and I’m just Keepin’ It Real.

Categories: Libsyn2