In the next week to 10 days members of the Class of 2013 will take a final stroll across their high school campuses. And then, in one final short stroll across a stage to receiver their diploma and with a flip of the tassel they will be high school graduates.
It is a scene that is repeated hundreds of thousands of times each year and lifelong friends and teammates go their separate ways.
I graduated from high school on May 29, 1976, which was 37 years ago today and I still recall those feelings of youthful excitement and, yes, fear.
I believe each of us want to leave a legacy of some sort at our different stops along the way. The unspoken desire to have that legacy is what drives some students in sports, others in the arts and many to be the best they can academically.
The best of the best of those students excel in multiple areas as they shine on in academics and athletics while still finding time to reach out and mentor elementary and middle school students through their church or some civic organization. It's hard not to admire these young men and women that do so many things well.
For other students just being a part of the team is their greatest legacy. Let's face it, some of us aren't designed for what the world considers greatness in sports, the arts or academics.
But just because a student can't be the leading man in the school play doesn't mean his part in helping build the sets is any less important to the play.
My own high school athletic experience was one of being a part of the team. I was a third-teamer on the Gulf Breeze High School football team and one of the worst 2-milers in the state the one year I ran track. But even as I struggled athletically I was a part of something that was bigger than myself.
I still remember the games we won, and even more the games we lost. I can't tell you the scores of most of those games, but I still remember the high of winning and the low of coming up short.
Being a high school athlete taught me how to push myself in ways I never imagined. And those lessons I learned so many years ago continue to guide me and will do so until the day I die.
It is easy to see the greatness in the star athletes and performers, but often the grace and courage of the third-team player is overlooked or forgotten.
I wish I could get to know every athlete I cover and tell every story. I'm sure there are a lot of young men and women that, as I did, played simply for the joy of being a part of the team and the love of the game.
My wish for all of those young men and women is that the friendships forged in practice and competition, and the lesson learned as a high school athlete will continue to push and inspire you the rest of your lives.
Congratulations to the Class of 2013 for a job well done.
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.