Team Traditions: Grand Rapids shows love & thanks through Final Lap

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Football players spend months on the fields sacrificing their minds and bodies for their teams. To acknowledge their hard work the Grand Rapids football team has seniors take one final lap around their home field before the season ends.

‘"I think what it does is it validates the sacrifices that they’ve made," Greg Spahn said, head coach of Grand Rapids football.

The ‘Final Lap’, now done around the new Noble Hall Field, is taken by Grand Rapids seniors the final practice of their regular season.

"We have all our coaches and players line our practice field and we have the seniors gather in the end zone," Spahn explained. "They take one final lap around there and every player and coach gets a chance to say thanks."

Spahn said he started the tradition in 2015, his second season as head coach, to honor the Thunderhawks and prove to them how much they mean to the program.

"Oftentimes we don’t say the words thank you enough. We don’t we don’t say I love you enough to the people that mean something to us, so in many ways I think we normalize that."

While he said there’s usually a lot of tears, with parents also joining the lineup, there are great grins too.

"Typically [they’re] grateful," Spahn said about the players. "Grateful for the experience that they had in the program and really grateful for the opportunities that are that are ahead. I mean the season is not over."

Grand Rapids will hold their 2021 Final Lap Tuesday October 19.