/ Opinions / My last dance

My last dance

May 12, 2020 by Brett LaBore

“The Last Dance” documentary on Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls has been the topic of conversation among sports fans. Fans love a glimpse of what happens behind-the-scenes and I am one of them.

I’m not going to talk about “The Last Dance” in this column, but it has inspired me to talk about finales and how special they can be.

When I was in high school, I remember my senior year very clearly. I wanted to soak everything in because it was going to be the last of it — final first day of school, final homecoming and final soccer season.

I played for the varsity soccer team and I was one of the leaders on the team. I gave everything I had to the team — I wanted to create a type of environment where we all loved one another and had fun playing together. 

I never wanted anyone to take it too seriously. I wanted to be the type of leader my teammates could depend on and trust.

That’s where “The Last Dance” has inspired me. When it’s the last time you do something, it’s emotional and you take advantage of every moment. 

Eventually there always comes a point where the end of the season is near. I remember soaking up the last home game. Home games are special because of how familiar you are with the surroundings and how comfortable they make you feel. Walking in and out of the locker room is a surreal experience.

We won the game and I made sure all the seniors got together for a picture. We were leaving our mark and that photo reminds me of the legacy we left behind.

Now in the playoffs, it was win or go home. We went on the road to a team that was very equal to us. In heartbreaking fashion, our season ended in a 1-0 loss. 

During the coach’s postgame speech, I stood there crying. I knew this was the last time I would put on my soccer jersey and play with my guys — the guys that I loved. I knew the practices were over and the bus rides had come to an end. It was the last dance. 

I didn’t play in college and I miss soccer. That was my final game. As sad as it was, I’m still proud of the season we had and how much fun I had being a leader. I got to shape the team that I wanted. The last dance.

When I went to college, I decided to do track and field. I did track in high school and Bethany Lutheran College was a smaller school with a new track team, so I thought it would be fun.

Again I got to my senior year and was honored to be a captain for the outdoor season. Not only was I a leader, but I was an established leader with a specific duty. 

I cherished my time as captain and I’m so proud of the team that was formed. That track team was fun and full of character. I want to say thank you to my fellow captains, for helping establish a wonderful culture.

It’s weird how much you stand still and take it all in when it comes to an end. We had practices at 6 a.m. and I was always so tired. But in that last month, I wasn’t. I was enjoying the moment, because practice is where some of the best memories lie. The last dance.

The last track meet of my career came at the big conference meet in early May. I knew my time in college was coming to an end, so I was dealing with a lot of emotions. 

One of the saddest parts is when you put on your jersey for the final time. The name on the front of the jersey means so much and I loved to represent it wherever I went.

What made this track meet so fun is the fact that it’s a two-day event, so we got to stay in a hotel for two nights. I loved that because it meant more bonding time and soaking in those last few moments as a team. 

The last day was emotional. Tears were shed and a lot of great performances were achieved. I’ll never forget my last race — a 400 meter run. I wanted to PR (personal record) so bad. My PR at the time was around 57.10. Not a super fast time, but it was a race I had worked really hard on for the last month.

As I sat on the beautiful turf at the University of Minnesota-Duluth exhausted, I looked up at the big Jumbotron as the times went by. All I wanted was one more personal record, to end my career with a bang.

I ended up running a 56.92 and I immediately just fell on my back and celebrated. I was so tired and hot, but it was so worth it. Not only did I get a PR in my final race of my career, but a sub-57. 

When your time comes to an end whether it’s sports, work or some personal project, all you can do is enjoy it and soak up all the memories. The last dance. 

Brett LaBore may be reached at [email protected] or [email protected]

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