Saturday, October 08, 2005

Homecoming

Our first house sat within the glow of the Friday night lights. On delightully chilled fall Fridays, the glare of the football stadium radiated brightly, viewed with awe by our son Greg, then three. Of course, he wanted to go. I took him more than once.

To Greg, it was a circus with the cheers, the marching band, the concessions, and the young boys and girls running here and there. Then there was the show itself--two teams competing in a contest of strength and will.

Greg did somersaults in the grass, strained to climb the stairs of the wooden bleachers, then quietly watched the affairs on the field with reverence. He grew up loving football.

And I thought one day he would take his place on the line. Greg was athletic, loved to tackle his brother, and could throw a pretty spiral. Once, a player was injured and I teased Greg that he might have to substitute. Greg stood up, all forty pounds of him, ready to go.

When it did come time for Greg to put on pads and join the middle school football team, we found he didn't have the "fire in the belly" as described by fellow blogger Kenju. Greg eventually spent his Friday nights with the marching band. Ironically, his younger brother Scott took his place on the field, becoming a varsity starter.

Wendy and I spent warm nights, cold nights, rainy nights, even snowy nights on those wooden bleachers. It was dedication but it was fun too. Whether cheering on Scott and his team or clapping in cadence to the strains of the marching band, we wore our school colors proudly. Homecoming was the best. The parade of floats and musicians wound its way through our own subdivision.

This fall, the lights of the old football stadium are dark, the wooden bleachers empty. A splended new facility built of concrete and steel has taken its place miles away. I attended a game there recently.

Watching the little boys playing in the grassy outer reaches, I could almost imagine a three-year-old with a mop of blond hair doing somersaults. On the field, I felt as if I saw number 77 trotting to the sidelines. My sons weren't there, of course. One is at Michigan State and the other was working the late shift. And it was Homecoming too.

It just wasn't for me.

17 Comments:

Blogger Trucker Bob said...

It's a treat for me to read someone who speaks with such pride of his son, as I do.

8:58 AM  
Blogger Bernadette said...

Evocative post, Dave! You should enter it in a writing contest! Fond memories can be the most bittersweet.

We still have a (high school freshman) football player at home and our "old school" stadium is beautifully poised between the mountains. Some things cannot be improved upon!

How's the mustering up of SPARTAN pride going, by the way?

11:12 AM  
Blogger Fred said...

How touching. Lots of emotion and pride in that post; thanks for sharing some of your memories.

1:40 PM  
Blogger Gypsybobocowgirl said...

Awwww.....

11:53 PM  
Blogger OldHorsetailSnake said...

"Back in the good old days..."

(Michigan State? Michigan State A&M? That school? What the hell is he doing THERE, Wolverine?)

7:05 AM  
Blogger poopie said...

I could picture your sons doing their respective things with pride! Thanks for sharing the "lucky shot" below...it's awesome.

8:46 AM  
Blogger schnoodlepooh said...

Awwwww... that's a nice nostalgic story. Your kids had a nice childhood.

10:31 AM  
Blogger Peter said...

A nice touch of nostalgia Dave, it's sad when the "it just wasn't for me" button gets pushed though.

3:04 PM  
Blogger Deb said...

Wonderful story Dave; very heartfelt. I felt like was there watching .

You should enter it in a contest, or considering submitting it to a pub like "Chicken Soup" or "A Cup of Comfort."

6:56 PM  
Blogger Pirate said...

This was my dream as well. The oldest did play middle school football in our city. His coach was a former Carolina Panther who told me the world was my kid's as far as football went. He scored four or five TDs a game played middle linebacker as well and was everywhere. I was on top of the world. Summer camp came he excelled the high school coach was nothing but gratful.

Daily doubles were upon us and my son informed me he would rather do cross country. My heart was ripped out.

He has become one of the top 400 meter runners in the state his senior year so I do have some bragging material but no football. So I'm stuck with the St. Louis Rams and the Oregon Ducks.

7:50 PM  
Blogger WordWhiz said...

I love it when you talk about your kids. This was a touching post.

4:37 AM  
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