Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Lot Changes in a Week

Last week was full of hope, unseasonably warm, sunny, beautiful. Wynne and I went on a little road trip up north through the Kickapoo hills to pick up a scout tape for Dad. About an hour into the trip, Wynne had to go potty and what better place to stop than an apple orchard?

After a few minutes of browsing and sampling apple cider, we bought a peck of Empires and Cortlands and snapped a few pictures of the beautiful countryside.

I love our "scouting trips". After five years of going 7 and 36, it has been amazing to reach the play-offs for the past six seasons. We never take it for granted. Post-season is electric and special, and I have been lucky to have been a stay-at-home-mom so I can drive all over this corner of the state, taking in the beautiful scenery and having some good Christian radio time, prayer time, and time with my little ones. This year has been no different.
On our three scouting trips this year, I tried to incorporate our "at-home preschool" curriculum into the drive. (Hey, it helps to rationalize all of the inactive-on-her-butt time lately!) Wynne can now point out octagons (stop signs) and letters A, B, C. She's a little rusty on D, E, and F, although I continually point out the E & F on our Chieftain football clothing.

Wynne gets a little more of my undivided attention than the rest of the kids did, I will admit. The chances of us stopping for apples or buying a little treat go way up when you only have one mouth to feed, and having an older, mellower mommy probably helps a little, too!
On our way back from the football tape exchange, we stopped at a Wal-mart and scored this white pumpkin for SEVEN CENTS. I should have bought a whole bunch of 'em!

The week was filled with anticipation for the big game. Level 3. Two games away from State. A home game between two undefeated teams. Every now and then I gave into temptation and hopped on the computer to see what "everybody" was saying about the game. I know, I know-- stupid me-- you shouldn't worry about what anybody else thinks, right?
Wynne took advantage of my distracted state and took a picture of me. (I can see the headlines in parenting circles now: "Slacker Mom surfs the Net while preschooler operates $250 camera"!)

Actually, these aren't bad shots for a 3-year-old. Never mind the hideous subject on the left!

In my defense, it's hard to get a good night's sleep when your husband's getting his team ready for a big game, and you're just as nervous as anybody !!
We made lots of signs all season long, especially for the play-offs. This year I finally got smart and started using permanent marker on the back of vinyl tire banners (thanks Steve & Tandem Tire)! It only took me eleven years to figure this out.





This one has special significance for me (call me silly or sentimental or whatever) because one of the senior moms and I tried to hold this up at the end of our last regular season game at Belmont. The weather was monsoon-like (wind and rain blowing at you horizontally; at least six inches of standing water on the field/sidelines), but I was determined to hold up this sign and show everyone how proud we were of our team. We had just won the conference championship outright (undefeated) for the first time in 33 years and by golly, this sign was going up!! (Shortly after, I ended up lying in the mud with my friend Jodi--another beloved coach's wife--after a big bear hug!!) It's still in our yard and I don't care what Mark says, I'm not taking it down till Christmas. At the very least!

Finally the day of the game arrived. Finally!! A generous local family hosted a big breakfast for us at their convention center, the Holiday Gardens. (You can see all of the wacky haircuts the boys had given themselves for the play-off run.)
Thanks to Sharon and family for your generosity and support! It really meant a lot to us.

Saturday morning previewed another beautiful, unseasonably warm day. Highs reached into the 70s, I think! We didn't even need our sweatshirts! After the delicious breakfast the kids and I went up to the field to help Daddy get ready for the game. First we stopped to take a shot of the field as it looks when you're driving up East Street. Imagine this place four hours later brimming with HUNDREDS of people. Cars maxed out of the school parking lots and parked along the highway all the way to the firehouse! It was incredible.

I wasn't the only one to make signs. Our program is blessed with ardent supporters who make huge plywood signs that line the fences, painted windows, and heartfelt notes of encouragement.




These are just a sampling. There are dozens more. Every home game was that much more special...and I don't think you can buy this kind of feeling of togetherness and support in a bigger town!


As athletic director, Mark has lots of extra work to do to prepare for higher-level playoff games such as this one. God blessed us with great weather so we could put some of the radio and TV stations outside for this game. Our pressbox is just too small and rickety to take that much excitement!



I coaxed Mark into pausing a few minutes for a picture with the kids. I LOVE this picture!!

Am I not the luckiest woman in the world?

After a few more pictures, chalk drawings, and a bit of touch football...



we went home and got the little red wagon ready for the game. The wagon comes out when the littlest ones come to the game, with its magic hidden compartment (large enough to hold one box of crackers and four pom pons) and cup holders. A must-have for any coaching family!


Soon it was time for the game. DeSoto has the same school colors as us and brought their dark jerseys and darn near as many fans as we had there. Wish I had an aerial shot of the field. It was hopping.




A few things were confirmed to me on Saturday afternoon:
1. After several years, I still can't draw a Chieftain arrow.
2. Seeing your husband and children on the sidelines together is a God-given blessing.
3. That little feeling inside my gut that says "a 7-point lead is never safe, even going into the fourth quarter" is probably right.
4. Four boys over 6 foot 2 inches tall and weighing an average of 250 pounds will probably give a quarterback and receivers some extra time.
5. Beating a team in rushing is great, but passing/receiving will produce quick scores.
6. Getting an interception to count for you CAN change the complexion of the game.
7. Hugging and crying is a good thing. Especially when shared with your family and close friends.
8. Going 11 and 1 is nothing to be ashamed of.
So we went from hope and happiness to sorrow and despair. The season is over, and the locker room pictures and slogans will have to come down for another year.

As you can tell from the length of this post, my husband's football program means a lot to me. It means a lot to a great many people. Lest you think I am idolizing high school athletics or jocks, please understand that: yes, I am in mourning, but yes, I still have it in perspective. And so do the boys. Take for example, two of our seniors, leading running backs and outstanding defensive players--who walked over to hug their cousin who is dying of lung cancer. There she was, in her wheelchair with her oxygen tank right next to her, just a few feet outside of the end zone. Hugs and tears, applause all around the family circle. Win or lose, we all know what is really important here. This football program, this thing we do--it is a microcosm on how we approach life. Do we play with gusto and put in the long, boring hours ahead of time to achieve the highest potential possible? Do we work hard even when no one is looking, and does our positive character show through in times of adversity? I would like to think so.

Thank God for God and his unchanging love! All is not lost, and no accomplishment means anything without Him, anyway. If we give Him the glory, it is all worthwhile, the wins and the losses. For His power is made perfect in our weakness. And we have to remember that we are playing a sport and living in a community that thousands of children around the world can not even dream of because of their circumstances. It's up to us to learn something from this, to take advantage of our opportunities, and to give back in some way. And so the season never ends!

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.--Hebrews 13:8

2 Comments:

Blogger Astrid said...

WOW!

I think the football team had the most amazing season! I'm so impressed with the team (and that's coming from a non-football person).

Love the photos of the kids...especially the one with Mark and the kids. Very special photo!

Now can you sit and relax? LOL!

November 10, 2009 at 6:00 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

Thanks Astrid, yeah I'll try to relax. It's just hard to fill the void!

November 11, 2009 at 6:51 AM  

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