A lot of you may not know me, unless you’ve read my writing on here. Some of you, I know well. Some, I’ve shaken hands with once or twice, and others, I’ve met in passing. Almost all of you, I met during the fall of 2019 during camp. That summer marked 40 years since I first appeared in Commerce as a freshman walk on. It brought back a lot of good memories, and all of you made my wife an I feel very welcome. Enough about me though. You can read the eulogy I wrote in February of 2018 for Coach Hawkins, titled “How Do You Say Farewell?” on here, that tells the rest about me.
I know this season, one that you’ve waited on for two years, did not go as planned. Like everyone else, I was expecting a run at a national championship. Sometimes, for whatever reason, things just don’t work out like we’d hoped. Sometimes, life is like that. You make the best out of whatever situation you find yourself in. What you have is one more game. One more chance to wear the blue and gold, at home. There’s a possible bowl bid on the horizon given a win, but for now, we’ll just leave that right out there.
It might seem like there’s not a lot to play for, and giving up and giving in, just going through the motions would be easy to do. I’m pleading with you…..don’t. This is the last time that you get to take the field at The Hawk. Please do not leave this field wondering “what if?” , and with what will always be that pain of disappointment.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my 60 odd years of shuffling across this mortal coil, it’s this, and this is the only time I’ll say something like this. You owe, those like me, that came before you, and the long line of athletes that will come after you, to leave things better than you found them. I hope that we were able to leave a foundation that was built upon. You, as a senior class, certainly have raised the bar awfully high. And that’s a good thing.
I know you may feel some emptiness, like you may not have achieved everything you were hoping for. Let me tell you, nothing could be further from the truth. You’re leaving Commerce with a degree, and a national championship ring. That’s something only one other group can lay claim to. Of all the great teams and talent that have come through Commerce, only two have their name on the stadium facade. You’re one of them. 1980 was as close as we came.
Remember this…..what you bring to Commerce lasts about 4-6 years. What you take from here, lasts a lifetime. Aside from the degree and jewelry, there is something else, something that can’t be seen or explained, but it will always be there. It’s a bond that exists only among those that have sweated, struggled, bled, and hurt together. The bond that exists between those of you that shared these experiences these last few years will always be there. They are still there between those of us that were there over 40 years ago. One day, all of you will get back together, and there’ll be less hair, a few pounds may have been added on. but those bonds, those friendships that were built during days like these will always be there. I promise you, one day when you’re 60 like I am, and you have your own children and grandchildren. it will be there. It still is for people like me. Blake Cooper. Bobby Wolfe. Chris Flynn. David Lowe. Cary Noiel. Brian Barnes. Anthony Brock. Brian Jackson. Glenn Blackard. Jim Morton. Jimmy Buster. Curtis Ray. Gus Gonzalez, Lonnie Cunigan, and so many others.
Band of Brothers was on television this evening, and there is a quotation from a passage of Shakespeare’s Henry V that seems to fit here:
“From this day, until the ending of the world, we in it shall be remembered. We few, we happy few. we band of brothers. For he that today sheds his blood with me, shall by my brother.”
And that it shall be.
I love you guys. Always have, Always will.