Leave everything you have learned during the last four years out on that football field because for most of you, this will be your last chance. This will be the last time you strap on your colors to play the game yourself.
Some of you will go to college, some have a playoff berth to look forward to and some of you are still playing for conference titles, but the bulk of you will go home tonight for the last time as football players.
When that happens, you will get the chance to do something you may have never done before. Instead of looking toward next week or next season, you can reflect on the experiences you've had, and the lessons you've learned.
I once had a coach tell me, “No matter what happens in your career, it's your last match that you'll remember the most.”
That may have been a wrestling coach, but the sentiment holds true in any sport.
In that last match, it isn't even about winning or losing. Sure you want to win, but in the long run, what you will remember best, or regret the most, is how you played on that last Friday night in October.
In this job, I often get to interview seniors after their final game. Some cry, some look fulfilled, some smile. While there are many reactions to an athletes last game, there will be even more memories.
When its finally over, seniors will hug their parents, who made countless sacrifices to support their sons. Younger siblings will look up in awe at their big brother in padded armor and aspire to be just like them and coaches will look proudly as their seniors run into the locker room for the last time.
So whether your team is steaming toward to playoffs, fighting for a .500 season, or trying to win just once more for the sake of winning, tonight is the most important game of the season.
JOHN STEGEMAN can be reached at email@example.com