Honoring those who have moved on and who will carry on

Mark DeLap
Posted 9/8/21

Column by Mark DeLap

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Honoring those who have moved on and who will carry on


The Pandemic.

It stole the last second shots and gave the human race last second goodbyes.

It stole the roaring of the crowd and drowned out the cheers with sorrow.

It was a time when we didn’t get to end a game or a season, but we were witnesses to the end of life itself for over 100,000 people and the paralyzing affects upon millions directly and indirectly related.

It replaced memories that we can only imagine from our human anticipation. Memories of what might have been, replaced with memories from a much bigger playing field.

Nobody will forget the injustice this generation has faced. For generations to come and even watching your own grandchildren one day playing in their final games of their high school careers, your final season will always come to mind.

This time will always be with you. Not the lack of your game, but the participation in it.

We were all athletes this year forced to sit on a bench while the team was battling.

None could take this more deeply into their hearts than our senior athletes who had their seasons sacrificed for an infamous cause.

But do you see?

You have not walked off the court, the field, the track, the rink, the mat, the course…  you have only entered a different playing field.

The game is still being played and you are right there in the fray. You have been given the ball during crunch time and as they say, winners always want the ball when the game is on the line.

Each time you deliver a meal to an elderly adult who has been confined to their home, you are in the grind of a game that still has a lot of time left on the clock.

Each day you take that little infant brother or sister out of the arms of a tired and weary parent who has been overwhelmed by the loss of a job and the sense of hopelessness, you are toughing out the fourth quarter.

Each time you remind your teammates, “you are going to make it,” and “we are going to get through this,” you are adding strength to your colors, to your character and to your team.

This is one of those games you will most remember throughout your career. Through all your training. In the games yet to be played.  And in the lives of others. THIS is the game that will more prepare you for life itself than any other game you could have played senior year.

This is the game that shapes us. This is the international game that puts us on the same page with literally every person on the earth. We are truly being forged in fire and will come forth as pure gold.

Seniors of the graduating class of 2020 are now entering their second year of college and the wounds are still fresh. Those who are entering college for the first time this year, you were the class that brought everyone back into a period of the new normal. It’s been an honor to serve with you. We are proud of you. You have fought a good fight. You have finished your course. You have kept the faith.  

Go forth into your destiny. Well prepared. You have faced the adversity of global pandemic and are becoming part of a leadership that has to rewrite the navigational maps through life as it changes. We look to a new generation to lead us through a new normal.