When he looked at the young players who had to learn on the fly, linebacker Steele Divitto said Moore stood out.
“How he’s responded and how he’s come back really shows he’s a team player,” said Divitto. “He was thrown into the fire pretty quickly and he responded.”
Boris said there was no other place his son would have rather been.
“The locker room, the team is his family,” he said. “The camaraderie of the team is important to him. Just being with his teammates, I think he found comfort in the locker room with his teammates. That’s his solace, being with his teammates in the locker room every day. That’s like a blanket for him.”
The moments immediately after the game belong to parents and players. The field is clear. The scoreboard is clear. The smell of combat is the only lingering trace of a game. The stadium is empty. The face-painted fans abandoned the stands for the parking lot, winners louder than the losers.
The players click-clack through the tunnel, holding their helmets by the facemask, sweaty, grass-stained, blood-soaked messes. The parents wait at the side, giving the same look they did when their children were just boys, even though they know they’ve grown into men.
That moment never changes.
“I’m sure he would love to be able to see his mom,” Boris said. “Obviously, I wish she was there with me. That was always the time that we shared together.
“After the game, you go meet your boy. They come out, they’re exhausted, they’ve given their all. You just see them. They’re not Malachi Moore the football player. He’s just my son. I’m sure if he could walk out of the locker room and see her, that would be wonderful.”
Julian Benbow can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.