I figured out why I get a little choked up at every Senior Day I attend.
That day and that moment, is the culmination of years and years of sacrifice and hard work to be the best that you could be at your game. Now, especially at large DI schools, you and your family become a part of that larger University community. Every game you play, people come out to cheer for you, some even pay a lot of money to do so.
While there is typically a post-season, etc… Many athletes may never play that game again in their life, at least not at the level they are accustomed to. And that is a bittersweet truth.
I get so choked up because I am a failed college baseball player. I am a career .167 hitter (3 for 18 in two seasons). I LOVE the game of baseball. I couldn’t get enough of it as a child and I played my ass off when I got on the field. What I lacked in talent, I eventually made up for with hustle, effort and knowledge of the game. But I get choked up because I never got a Senior Day in college.
My “Senior Day” was a sophomore day. It happened in a cold, dark gymnasium at about 6:15am one Spring (Winter) morning. There were no cheers. No banners or fatheads. No jersey encased in glass. And I was not escorted by my family.
I had a coach pull me aside and while I don’t remember the exact words any more, his message was, “You’re done here son”. He was absolutely right. I held on for about 2 years longer than I should have been able to, but my time was up. I left the gym and haven’t hit a baseball thrown overhand since then.
So, Senior Day is always, to me, a way to celebrate the ability to keep it together for 4 years and properly say goodbye to friends and fans and send you on to the next chapter of your life where you will likely never be as fit, as popular, or have as amazing a set of friends that you get to see every day.
Congratulations Lily Svete, Jaterra Bonds, Lauren Rose, Alaina Johnson, Mackenzie Caquatto, Casey, Will, Scottie, and Patric. Thank you for being great role models for tons of kids (and quite a few adults) out there. Thanks for giving everything you had to entertain us. Thanks for being pretty darn good students. But most of all, thank you for being Gators. Thank you to your families for letting us take care of you while you were here and a very special thank you for seemingly loving us, as much as we love you.
Best of luck. We hope your postseasons are as long as they can be.