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Seniors, Enjoy This Day

Yes, it is ten-years-ago me... Photo credit to Mama Salzano

We got a DM this week from a BC senior:

Hi there, Trevor.

Today’s football Senior Day marks ten years from my own personal last home game as a BC student, so Trevor’s DM got me feeling nostalgic. Senior Day 2009 was BC vs. North Carolina and it really wasn’t great. The Eagles lost 31-13 after going down 21-0 in the first quarter and while we made bit of a run to make a game of it at the end of the first half, we were shut down in the second half and that was that.

Here’s the thing though — I had to look all that up. I remember absolutely nothing from that football game. I honestly couldn’t even remember who we played. I went to every single home game and plenty of away games over my four years and I have very vivid memories of a great many gameplay-related events from a great many games but I can’t remember a thing about that game in particular.

And yet, of all the days I spent on the Heights over the course of eight semesters, I think about that particular day more than just about any of the others.

The things you remember about your last home game are the things that you did for any other game. Being in the Band, I never did have an opportunity to tailgate on campus, but I would imagine everyone has their own routine. You get up, maybe early, maybe not, maybe from hearing the band practicing, maybe from just sensing the buzz on campus. You put on your usual game day attire, you go out, you tailgate with your friends, you do your usual thing.

And in the back of your mind, even though you know you’re doing it for the last time, it doesn’t really hit you all at once. For me, the first inkling of “hey, this is really gonna be it” was the band prayer (always Psalm 150) and singing Amazing Grace. It was everyone together with an arm around the person next to you that you spent all those years with at the best place in the world.

But then the game starts and you want that win and you’re in the moment and you aren’t really thinking about it. And then... the game ends. And you remember.

The last home football game is the true beginning of the end of your time at Boston College as a senior. It’s the first big “last time” you have of something, and honestly it might be the biggest. There are about 9,000 undergraduates at BC, and the size of the football student section is more than half that. Think about that — more than half of the students come together on lower campus every week during the football season for this. It's the biggest "community" thing BC's got.

So, Trevor, let me tell you how you cope with your last home game: Just enjoy everything.

Enjoy getting up early.

Enjoy the cold.

Enjoy being with your friends.

Enjoy the sounds and the colors and the people and the beauty of campus.

Enjoy the normal and even mundane things you did every game week. Yeah, enjoy the game too, and hopefully we win and get bowl eligible and all that, but if we lose you aren’t even going to remember that we did.

I have one particular memory of my last home game, up on the band conductor’s platform. It's the one I always come back to. Most of the crowd had gone, including the bulk of the student section, but not everyone. The senior students — it was clear that it was mostly the seniors — had congregated around the Band during the Alma Mater, which is conducted by Dave Healey, the BCMB director. Then I took over from there, conducted For Boston one last time as usual, and that was supposed to be it.

But no one wanted to leave. It wasn’t that the Band was the show, obviously, but it was that as long as the Band didn’t leave, the day didn’t have to end. So I just kept conducting and we just kept playing. The trumpet section wasn’t all that pleased and they probably couldn’t even play a tin whistle for a month after that if they tried, but whatever. We just kept going. I couldn’t keep it together when everyone sang along to Viva La Vida. It was really just something else.

So enjoy the Alma Mater after the game for the last time. Enjoy congregating with the rest of the seniors and don’t let the Band stop until they’ve played everything in the book.

Enjoy it all, and don’t let the day end until it absolutely has to. It’s a special one, and you’ll be surprised what you remember of it ten years from now.