Archives for December 2008
A story to warm your heart…if you’d like to read it from the original source, click here. Merry Christmas!
Life of Reilly
There are some games where cheering for the other side feels better than winning. by Rick Reilly
Gainesville State players douse head coach Mark Williams in celebration.
They played the oddest game in high school football history last month down in Grapevine, Texas.
It was Grapevine Faith vs. Gainesville State School and everything about it was upside down. For instance, when Gainesville came out to take the field, the Faith fans made a 40-yard spirit line for them to run through.
Did you hear that? The other team’s fans?
They even made a banner for players to crash through at the end. It said, “Go Tornadoes!” Which is also weird, because Faith is the Lions.
“I WOULDN’T EXPECT ANOTHER PARENT TO TELL SOMEBODY TO HIT THEIR KIDS. BUT THEY WANTED US TO!”
It was rivers running uphill and cats petting dogs. More than 200 Faith fans sat on the Gainesville side and kept cheering the Gainesville players on—by name.
“I never in my life thought I’d hear people cheering for us to hit their kids,” recalls Gainesville’s QB and middle linebacker, Isaiah. “I wouldn’t expect another parent to tell somebody to hit their kids. But they wanted us to!”
And even though Faith walloped them 33-14, the Gainesville kids were so happy that after the game they gave head coach Mark Williams a sideline squirt-bottle shower like he’d just won state. Gotta be the first Gatorade bath in history for an 0-9 coach.
But then you saw the 12 uniformed officers escorting the 14 Gainesville players off the field and two and two started to make four. They lined the players up in groups of five—handcuffs ready in their back pockets—and marched them to the team bus. That’s because Gainesville is a maximum-security correctional facility 75 miles north of Dallas. Every game it plays is on the road.
This all started when Faith’s head coach, Kris Hogan, wanted to do something kind for the Gainesville team. Faith had never played Gainesville, but he already knew the score. After all, Faith was 7-2 going into the game, Gainesville 0-8 with 2 TDs all year. Faith has 70 kids, 11 coaches, the latest equipment and involved parents. Gainesville has a lot of kids with convictions for drugs, assault and robbery—many of whose families had disowned them—wearing seven-year-old shoulder pads and ancient helmets.
So Hogan had this idea. What if half of our fans—for one night only—cheered for the other team? He sent out an email asking the Faithful to do just that. “Here’s the message I want you to send:” Hogan wrote. “You are just as valuable as any other person on planet Earth.”
Some people were naturally confused. One Faith player walked into Hogan’s office and asked, “Coach, why are we doing this?”
And Hogan said, “Imagine if you didn’t have a home life. Imagine if everybody had pretty much given up on you. Now imagine what it would mean for hundreds of people to suddenly believe in you.”
Next thing you know, the Gainesville Tornadoes were turning around on their bench to see something they never had before. Hundreds of fans. And actual cheerleaders!
“I thought maybe they were confused,” said Alex, a Gainesville lineman (only first names are released by the prison). “They started yelling ‘DEE-fense!’ when their team had the ball. I said, ‘What? Why they cheerin’ for us?'”
It was a strange experience for boys who most people cross the street to avoid. “We can tell people are a little afraid of us when we come to the games,” says Gerald, a lineman who will wind up doing more than three years. “You can see it in their eyes. They’re lookin’ at us like we’re criminals. But these people, they were yellin’ for us! By our names!”
Maybe it figures that Gainesville played better than it had all season, scoring the game’s last two touchdowns. Of course, this might be because Hogan put his third-string nose guard at safety and his third-string cornerback at defensive end. Still.
After the game, both teams gathered in the middle of the field to pray and that’s when Isaiah surprised everybody by asking to lead. “We had no idea what the kid was going to say,” remembers Coach Hogan. But Isaiah said this: “Lord, I don’t know how this happened, so I don’t know how to say thank You, but I never would’ve known there was so many people in the world that cared about us.”
And it was a good thing everybody’s heads were bowed because they might’ve seen Hogan wiping away tears.
As the Tornadoes walked back to their bus under guard, they each were handed a bag for the ride home—a burger, some fries, a soda, some candy, a Bible and an encouraging letter from a Faith player.
The Gainesville coach saw Hogan, grabbed him hard by the shoulders and said, “You’ll never know what your people did for these kids tonight. You’ll never, ever know.”
And as the bus pulled away, all the Gainesville players crammed to one side and pressed their hands to the window, staring at these people they’d never met before, watching their waves and smiles disappearing into the night.
Anyway, with the economy six feet under and Christmas running on about three and a half reindeer, it’s nice to know that one of the best presents you can give is still absolutely free.
**If you’re coming over from Kelly’s Korner, Welcome! This post was written shortly after announcing our pregnancy with #1! Welcome!
Pardon the picture B-L-A-R-I-N-G picture of Michael and me on my blog. LOL. I wanted to share a funny story, and to do so, needed you to see the picture as big as possible–It’s hard to make out the writing in the picture (though easier in person), and I wanted you to be able to visualize them as much as possible.
When we shared our news with family members last weekend, Michael and I decided to break our news with a couple of decorated shirts. Michael wore a shirt that said “Coming Soon to a Family Near You…” Mine said “Little Boehmbino, May 2009. (switched in the picture–and to answer your question– yes, we wear the same shirt size, le sigh.) So, we wore the shirts to our family’s house and arrived at 6:30. We took off our coats and exposed the shirts. And waited. And waited. AND WAITED. AND WAITED. AT 10:30 (after dinner, sitting around the table chatting, playing games, etc.) Michael finally said something to the effect of “Do you like our shirts?” To which they read them BOTH and were excited for us.
Michael’s dad had noticed Michael’s, but thought that to stare and try to read mine would be impolite (Little Boehmbino, May 2009). Michael’s mom thought that they were church related and that we both had the same shirts. Talk about intense waiting.
We tried the same tactic the very next day and the shirts were noticed within minutes.
What I learned for future announcements:
#1 Bigger Fonts, Glow in the dark paint, lights, or arrows with a:READ THIS NOW message would be helpful.
3 days until Christmas! **Kelly’s Corner Friends, Thanks again for visiting! Click here to head to my home page!!
Yesterday, I received the funniest email from a friend. It was too entirely funny to NOT share with you. (Although I got her permission, I changed the kids’ names so as not to embarrass my dear friend. 🙂
I was at the Christmas Tree Shop (discount store) to pick up some gifts for co-workers. I had the baby in the carrier on the front of my cart. Corbin, my middle son, in the basket of the cart and Cameron, my oldest, standing on the end of the cart (quite a sight I’m sure). I was using the bottom of the cart to store my merchandise. I went to put more stuff on the bottom grate when I noticed liquid. I looked at Corbin quickly…all looked fine. Then I got down and looked up into my cart. What did I see but a naked bum and penis! What I had not realized was that he had pulled down his pants and diaper just enough while sitting in the basket. And he PEED on my stuff…he said he went “pee and poop poop”, though thankfully it was just pee. Now, I had a candy dish that had remarkably functioned as a potty and caught all the pee…By this time, the baby was hungry and crying (she was asleep when I went into the store otherwise I would have fed her first.) Cameron is going on and on and on how his legs are SOOOO tired of standing….and I had already decided I didn’t need the candy dish before I had discovered its new found function….so I simply wiped it out and put it on a shelf…and headed directly to check out.
Moral of the story: ALWAYS wash items before use. You never know when a child has used an item for an unintended purpose and an exhausted mom just couldn’t face explaining what happened to customer service.
Happy Friday! A special thanks goes to my friend for sharing the smiles, and to her little one, for giving us reason to chuckle!