Football is an honest game. It’s true to life. It’s a game about sharing. Football is a team game. So is life.
The last week has been one that has been full of memories, family and fun times.
My challenge for the month of September was supposed to be to learn to play bridge. The Johnson County Bridge club hosts a series of 5 lessons starting the month of September and my first one was supposed to be last Monday night.
However, Patrick’s college friend, Gene, said he could stop in and visit the same night as the first lesson. Since I hadn’t seen Gene in about 14 years, (since college) I really wanted to stay home and visit with him instead. And with that decision….my bridge club challenge was gone.
(I did start a couple of other activities that I had wanted to try that I will blog about for September since bridge club was out)
It was great to see Gene. He was always at Patrick’s house in college and there are so many funny stories from that time. Looking back, I can picture my Patrick (who was an offensive lineman at the time and much bigger than he is now) riding his small moped through campus with Gene (who was an equally big linebacker) on the back. Wes, who also played at Pitt with Patrick and Gene came over too. We had a fun time recalling the college days…..oh how I wish we could go back for a day or two.
The rest of the week was full of other fun activities, but the highlight was Friday night football. My Dad, who has been a high-school football coach for over 40 years played my brother who is the head coach at a neighboring school. My brothers, sisters and their families fly and drive to Pittsburg to see the game and it is one of the rare weekends we are ALL together.
Mid week I had the neighbor girls help me make a cake for the celebration!
It is one of my favorite weekends of the year. I grew up watching Dad coach and some of the fondest childhood memories I have were going to the games when he coached my four brothers. My brother, Mark, who is just over 30 years old and the 5th of the seven Smith kids, coaches for the school that is five minutes down the road. When he played for my Dad in high school, he never lost a game. NEVER. He went 60-0. He is smart, driven and a natural athlete, just like my Dad. He has a good sense of humor and a role model…just like my Dad. He is an excellent father to his two children, Will and Ellie, just like my Dad. He is kind, compassionate, yet tough and expects your best…just like my Dad.
I truly hate to see either of them lose, but at the same time, it is exciting to watch. I went to Colgan, so I always wear blue and support my old school, but at the same time, want Mark and his team to do well. I like a close, nail biter game!
We arrived just in time to watch the Colgan Pep Rally.
Dad has spent almost 40 years at Colgan and won well over 300 games. When he won his 300th game about five years ago, his grandkids dressed up in morph suits to celebrate. (after the game of course)
Also, when he got the 300th win, I made a video with all the pictures of games, family, old friends and coaches, newspaper clippings, ribbons we used to wear and mementos I found around my parents house. After watching it again tonight (and getting over the poor quality of the video…yikes) a couple of things stood out.
One was the rainbow at the end of the video. It’s from a picture of Mom and Dad’s backyard. When we were kids they put a goal post in the ground and would cut lines and sometimes even chalk them for a big family game or so the boys could practice. We had a huge backyard so it didn’t seem that crazy at the time. The boys would hold impromptu practices with their team at my parents house when we were growing up.
Coincidentally, at the starting kickoff of the game Friday night, there was a double rainbow that went from one sideline to the other. Pretty cool.
My Dad also took a man with down syndrome under his wing named Virgil, who is in the video. He took stats during the games and would travel with the team to away and playoff games. He has done this for as long as I remember. Last year, when he couldn’t walk in the Homecoming parade with the team, Dad pushed him in a wheelchair behind the large truck the team was sitting on.
It brought a tear to my eye because in the picture he is with his sweet wife who just died a couple of weeks ago and was always there supporting them as well. My favorite thing about my Dad is he helps the people who need it the most; that some might not even know need a hand or a friend. There is a humbleness about him that just knows……..I hope I have some of that.
Although the game was close, my brother ended up pulling away in the 4th quarter to win 28-7.
In the four years they have played each other, the games have always been close and both teams give their all. They have split wins 2/2.
It was great to see my family. The girls always get a picture during the game and all the boys before the game.
The next day, Patrick and I took the boys to the Pitt game. My new sister in law, Mariel, had never been to a football game until the night before, so it was fun to also show her a good football tailgate. (She grew up in Canada watching hockey)
Growing up watching and being a part of football was a blessing that I am grateful for. Of course, I never played, but I saw many life lessons that were learned through the sport because of my parents and brothers.
I saw camaraderie on and off the field. Every player had a job and the team could not function with out every person doing their part. It was an all-inclusive game that everyone could be a part of.
Seeing Patrick with his friends from college that he played with at Pitt showed me that no matter how long you are away, the friendship and bonds you make with your team mates last forever.
It has taught my two boys, especially my Freshman son, the value of hard work and summer weights, being on time, discipline and learning to handle disappointments with humility and grace.
Brene’ Brown said in her book Daring Greatly that Joy comes to us in moments. I think this weekend spending time with the people I love was pure joy; from the extraordinary football game between two people I love, to the simple moments of having conversations with my siblings I haven’t seen in a while or playing cards with my sisters and mom. I relish those weekends and those moments and never take them for granted.
Stay tuned…Fall is my favorite! I have some fun DIY projects, pumpkin decorating and sewing projects around the corner.