Looking up at the scoreboard, less than 10 minutes remained until kickoff.
I was alone and wandering about midfield when the opening riff of Ozzy Osborne’s “Crazy Train” belted from the stadium speakers and signaled the Powdersville Patriots march to the field.
As I watched them descend the steep stairway under the press box, a roaring crowd of their classmates, parents, and neighbors rose to their feet to applaud their routine, and I would be lying if I didn’t admit a small amount of envy for the young men in shoulder pads.
To be young, athletic, and the central focus of hundreds of men, women, and children wearing your colors is not a bad way to spend a Friday night.
And I don’t care how old you are, the dreams of boyhood are not replaced by the less glorious realities of adult life.
Somehow the monotonous grind of finding my place in traffic each morning or awaiting the results of my credit report have yet to stifle my memories of those better days that are all behind me now.
And although I am many years from gray hair, retirement, and a rocking chair, I am a thirty-something encumbered by the unrealized hopes of athletic achievement.
But what man doesn’t lament the better moments of youth, and in particular, those moments that can only be obtained on a playing field?
And as I watched the Powdersville quarterback roll to his left, turn down field and lob a 50-yard touchdown pass, the camera in my hands and the subsequent column stirring about my thoughts seemed more insufficient than ever.
But this is what I am.
After all, as a starting quarterback, I make a fine journalist, but like most of us who have seen their better days pass them by like an anonymous face in a crowd, I will continue looking back.
And to quote a verse from Springsteen,
“Now I think I’m going down to the well tonight and I’m going to drink till I get my fill.
And I hope when I get old, I don’t sit around thinking about it but I probably will.
Yeah, just sitting back trying to recapture a little of the glory of, well time slips away and leaves you with nothing mister but boring stories of glory days.”
And after the better days of my youth are conjured, thought over, regretted and put back in their place, I’m sure I’ll look up at the blank page on my computer screen and proceed to wage war on the week’s newspaper assignments as if I were never young and born directly into manhood.