MASCOUTAH, Ill. (KSDK) – Sacrifice is a way of life for military families.
It's a fact that students at Mascoutah High School know all too well – one half of the student body has a parent serving.
Football is one thing two young men say helps them cope.
Something as simple as watching your kids play sports is easy to take for granted.
"I missed his first words, his first walk, his first date when he got older," Klinton Bruck said.
Klinton missed his son Brandon's entire football career at Mascoutah High School while he was serving as a technical sergeant in the Air Force. His most recent deployment was in Iraq.
"I knew he wouldn't be there," Brandon Bruck said," but I saw cameras up there, I was looking up, there I was hoping he was watching."
When you're half a world away, you cling to every glimpse of home. Like a video of Brandon carrying the American flag at Mascoutah's armed forces game.
"I just sat there for a good five to 10 minutes," Klinton Bruck said. "I was happy, sad, all the range of emotions someone would go through, not being there for their son or daughter."
Senior Master Sergeant Tim McDonnell was home this season, but while he was fighting in Afghanistan, his son was fighting through the pain of growing up.
"It's usually when I'm having trouble coping with life, right now, is when I need him the most," he said.
For these two teammates, football was a refuse.
For military families, sacrifices are a way of life. It's the homecomings that make it worth the wait.
Watch the video above for a look at those homecomings.