74

For all intents and purpose, the game was over before the end of the first quarter. The home team scored three unanswered touchdowns before ten minutes had ticked off the clock. By halftime, the score was 50-0.

The King and Queen were crowned and the marching band began to play. With disciplined precision, they executed the complex choreography while playing their instruments with impressive skill.  Very impressive.

During the second half, my eyes were drawn to an offensive lineman on the visiting team. After the whistle had blown, number 74 came up limping. I thought for sure the big kid was going to take himself out of the game. He obviously couldn’t put any pressure on his left ankle. Instead, 74 stayed in and finished the series of downs. I kept watching him as he sat on the bench. The visiting team had come a very long way to play this game. Only a few people had made the trip to support them. And yet, despite the fact that the outcome had already been decided, Lake Marion kept playing their hearts out. When it was once again time for the offensive line to take the field, 74 strapped on his helmet and hobbled out to join his band of brothers. Once again into the breach they bravely waded.

Battered. Bruised. Beaten. But none of that mattered. Their spirit remained undaunted. Because they had each other.  Because come what may, they were in this thing together. Because they were teammates.

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