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Aiden’s freshman season with Center Grove football has been over for around a month. He had a pretty good year on the freshman football team. He started off at Cornerback, but was moved to Safety halfway through the season. And he made an immediate impact.
Here he is in his first game as Safety on the freshman team:
That’s right. It’s an interception.
He claims it was luck. The quarterback threw it right to him. I continue to remind him that while it might have been lucky that he was where the ball was going, he still needed to have the presence of mind to catch the ball and hold onto it. I think I’ve finally convinced him to stop saying it was a lucky play.
He grabbed another pick a few games later. It bounced off the receiver’s hands and he dove to catch it. Maybe all those games playing catcher in Cowan are still paying off.
It was fun watching Aiden and the rest of the boys leave it all on the field every Saturday morning. Well….OK….getting him to school early in the morning every Saturday morning wasn’t exactly fun. But watching them play was fun. They went through some tough games. And they lost for the first time since seventh grade. There were definitely some growing pains. But they kept on playing their hearts out. And that was fun to watch.
Once the season was over, the freshman were invited to practice with the J/V and Varsity teams. Aiden jumped at the opportunity. So over the last month or so, he’s been participating in Center Grove’s practices as they prepared for their playoff push.
This play that sent the Trojans to Lucas Oil Stadium? It brought tears to Aiden’s eyes. If you don’t want to watch all of this video, you can just fast-forward to the 7:20 mark to see what I’m talking about.
Pretty cool. Right?
So we took a trip to Lucas Oil Stadium to watch the mighty Center Grove Trojans take on the Penn Kingsman. Both teams were undefeated against teams from Indiana (Penn had lost to a team from Michigan).
Kevin and Caedmon came to watch, too. Aly and Aiden hung out in the Student Section during the game. That was totally fine with me. After the semistate win, I told Aiden that he needed to soak in this experience and that he couldn’t take it for granted. I know their school is a big school and the Trojans have a pretty good athletic program. But trips to the State championship are nothing to take for granted. After all, my alma mater’s football team hasn’t won a Regional championship.* Ever.
So they watched and cheered from the Student Section. Caedmon and I cheered and yelled and clapped during every third down. Whenever the Trojans would stop their opponent on third down, we’d give each other high-fives. And if the Kingsmen happened to convert on third down, we’d vow to be louder next time. I had fun with him. I hope he did, too.
I’ll be honest. I didn’t really expect to be as emotionally involved in this game as I was. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised. I mean, I’m still somewhat emotionally invested in my alma mater’s games. And I don’t know anyone who plays for any of their athletic teams. Over the season I’ve gotten to know some of Center Grove’s players and their parents. I was thrilled to watch these young men leave it all on the field and end the season as Indiana state champions.
Of course, in an effort to encourage Aiden (and Aly, too) to soak it all in because this could have been a once-in-a-lifetime experience, we drove down to the school for a post-game celebration. In many ways, it was like any post-game rally that you’ll see in the movies. Some speeches. Some clapping. Some cheering. The playing of the school song. Some more cheering. And then they played the song that they play after the Trojans score at home.
I have to say, they played this song a lot this season. I think everyone knows the words to this song better than they know the fight song.
It was a great night to be a Trojan. Or the parent of a Torjan. Or a neighbor of a Trojan. It was a hard-fought football game with a fantastic conclusion. The slogan for this year’s football season was “One More.” It was fitting since they were one game short of making it to the State Finals last year. I think next year’s theme should be the same: “One More.” But this time, it’s because they’re hungry for a repeat.
That could be fun.
*In Indiana, the high school football playoffs break down like this: Sectionals >>Regionals>>Semistate>>State Championship. Center Grove is in the largest class in the state, 6A. There are 32 teams in this class.