Monday, December 7, 2015

My daughter's face book post:

     Last night as I watched the Michigan State Spartans play, I felt a range of emotions. At times, sick to my stomach, others jumping on the couch screaming silent obscenities. 
The girls were decorating our GIGANTIC Christmas tree and Emma turned around and said "Mom, why are you so obsessed with the green team?"
Ha. Great question. I think it's because I live vicariously through my most favorite memories. We tend to stay in moments that made us feel good. Like when I was 19 years old, stumbling past 40-50 year olds with my parka and red Solo cup at tailgates. I remember thinking "These people are so old. And they brought their kids? Why would anyone do such a thing?" And now, that's me!
Or the everlasting friendships that have endured 25 years. Friends who in crisis still huddle to support each other even though we live in 16 different states. Friends who fly across the country for our parent's funerals. Friends who remember laying in the grass together, skipping classes together, and looking out the window at the snow drifts contemplating if we should go to class or not. Friends who paid me to write their papers. Friends who would walk in sub zero temps so I could get some Olga bread. Friends who know me better than I know myself.
The game for me symbolized so much more than football. There was the catch Burbridge made in the tiniest of spaces, the step out of bounds that was reversed, the hurt and sore shoulder of arguably one of the best QB's, the extra year Connor Cook devoted to this team, the stretching of the clock on the drive, and of course "the reach".
Isn't that what we all need?
Tiny spaces to grow
Stable "ground" to establish ourselves
Someone to redirect us when we go out of bounds
More time to make things right
The ability to push through hurt
Not giving up when it would be really easy to just hang it up
And the "reach" of those near to us as well as those afar?
I believe it is.
Carry on Spartans. Carry on you.
25 more days of this year. Reach for goodness. It will pay you back a millionfold if you allow it.
Reach higher

     My daughter, Katey, talks of memories from football games, friends, tailgates, “old” people. Hmm. I must really dig deep into my memory bank to recall Wolverine days of over fifty years ago. “Yes, Virginia, they had football that long ago.” I do recall walking to the game behind hundreds of other students in the crisp fall Michigan air. I remember how huge the stadium looked as I walked up the road. I remember how cramped we were for space, inching our butts onto a four-inch piece of cold metal and hugging our hot toddies to keep
warm. I remember being so excited as our marvelous band came onto the field and performed awesome arrangements as they stepped into huge letters spelling out “Go Blue.” I remember feeling so small amongst thousands of fans many of whom were high before they even filled their beer cups.

     I don’t recall many old people, and there were very few little kids there. I guess they knew enough to leave them home so they could drink themselves into a stupor without witnesses.

     I recall screaming my lungs out at the players as they piled on top of each other. I never knew which one had the ball. It was so thrilling when the TV stations started using arrows so I didn’t have to be the only one looking left when the guy was far right.

    I remember people being passed up the stands. I thought I would have been so mortified to have numerous drunken strangers’ hands lifting me over other drunken heads only to land on my own, if I was lucky. And what if someone squeezed a private part—how embarrassing would that have been. Fortunately, I was too chubby to lift or something, as no one initiated my passing.

     I don’t associate football games with friends necessarily. I recall more going to the Pretzel Bell or some bar in town and eating peanuts with my date while watching the guys throw the shells on the floor or dipping them in their beer and throwing them at each other. I guess this was fun.

     I do love football, and I do understand the excitement of watching your team win. In my tenure at the “U,” I don’t recall a lot of wins. Hmm. Maybe we didn’t win, or maybe I was “toddyed” out. 

     If only I could have translated the out of bounds, the pushing through, the not giving up  and the reaching as my daughter has, I could have lived my early years much more philosophically. Alas, I didn’t, but I am thankful that she can see the parallels so early in her own life. I pray she passes her wisdom on to my grandchildren. If so, we have four tough, savvy, wise little girls who will grow up, hopefully, contributing to the strength and good in our world.