By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard
About a year ago we posted ‘The Last Game’. It’s about the weekend before Thanksgiving and the historic rivalries that are played in college football. It’s a weekend that gets very little recognition but it is so important to so many young men. Young men who may be playing their last ever football game. That may not sound important to you but it is to them.
Unlike just about every other sport out there football is one where when you’re done playing, you may never play again. If you’re a soccer player, basketball player, baseball player, heck even a hockey player, you can find a pick up league, bar league, etc. But more than likely, a football player will never, ever put on the helmet and pads again. Never run out into a field in front screaming fans. And never line up against another player, drive off the ball and collide with another human being.
The weekend before Thanksgiving is important because a good amount of these football players will be putting on the pads for the last time in some of the biggest games they will ever play in. The Yale vs Harvard, Lehigh vs Lafayette, Montana vs Montana State, William & Mary vs Richmond, Cornell vs Penn. Rivalries that go back 100 years of more.
It’s not just these longstanding rivalries that we should recognize but also the final games at places like UC Davis, Furman, VMI, Liberty, Tennessee Tech, Savannah State, Youngstown State, Wagner and countless others where players will put on the jersey for the last time. Players who will not be going on to the professional level. Players who will have to come to terms with the fact that the game for them is over forever.
While the big time collegiate programs will have the stage to themselves on Thanksgiving weekend, this weekend is for the little guy. The players who just love to play the game and be a part of a team. It doesn’t matter that it may be in front of a sparse crowd at a school known more for academics than football. It’s still a football game. A game they love and game that they will never get to play again. So pull a chair, tip your cap and show your appreciation for the young men who truly do play for the love of the game.