I get a little nostalgic at the end of every high school football season. Scenes of a season ending bring a flood of memories from my final days as a Gulf Breeze Dolphin 38 years ago.
For all the fanfare and hoopla surrounding Senior Night and one last game at the home stadium, the deepest emotions are wrapped up in the concept of team.
Anybody who ever played a high school or college sport understands those emotions.
I won't pretend football teammates share deeper bonds than volleyball or baseball teammates. I will suggest that those bonds are different simply due to the physical requirements of football and the nature of the game. They instill a certain reliance on each other, along with a trust and accountability that might not be found in other sports.
Baker running back D.J. Thomas has had a special senior season, but he'll be the first to tell you he couldn't have put up his big numbers without the blocking of a strong offensive line and a fullback willing to lead the way.
Great linebackers often make a staggering number of tackles, but those tackles aren't made without defensive linemen willing to engage the offensive line and keep them from the linebackers.
A team's Friday night game plan can only be executed as well as it was practiced that week. Often, the guys running the scout team seldom or never hear their name called over the public address system on Friday night.
We — and I say we because I was one of those scout team guys — are happy to know we played a part in getting our starters ready for the upcoming opponent.
It has often been said that there is no I in team. And that's the way it should be, as a team is not one player, but a sum of all the parts.
To be a team member is to be a part of something larger than one's self.
The last 38 years, I've been fortunate to be a part of some good teams at work, at church and even at play. None of those teams compare to those 1974 and 1975 high school football teams I was blessed to be a part of.
As I sit here writing this column, a role call of coaches and teammates flows through my mind and I strain to remember all the names and faces from that special time.
With each passing year, the big games' details slip further into the past, but the memory of teammates and what we experienced burns as brightly as our days of youth.
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.
Watch the "North End Zone Sports Report," 6 p.m. Wednesdays at crestviewbulletin.com/video, for more of Randy Dickson's insight on North Okaloosa sports