How long has it been since you were at a high school football game on a Friday night? For me, it probably would have been 59 years, until last week.
I remember one game in particular from back in 1960, when a certain young man was kind to me on a bitter cold Friday night in northern Ohio. My date had gone off to visit with some of his friends several rows away and left me sitting with Ray, whose usual date had not come to the game because she had a cold. We always double dated to the games because Ray had access to the family car, and my date didn’t have that privilege.
I remember Ray talking with me as the game progressed, and at half time he went and got us hot chocolate. Five years later, I married Ray, who was Chris’s father.
Fortunately, last Friday’s game was not freezing cold, as we watched my grandson, Vinnie Marquez, number 7, play at Oakmont High School in Roseville, California.
A few weeks ago, a friend of Chris, who lives in Stockton, was on Facebook at one of Vin’s games, and I thought “I guess I’m not a very good grandma because I haven’t been to any of his games.” I suppose I could have gone to a game, but I tend to wait to be invited to things.
Then suddenly, I was specifically invited to attend this game. It was “honor the seniors” night, where senior football players, cheer leaders, dance team, and band members walked out on the field with their families as the announcer identified each family member by name.
The players and cheer leaders walked before the game began, the others at half time. And they took video and still photos, which showed up on my iPhone on Saturday and Sunday.
Vinnie has been playing football since he was seven. I had seen him play once about five years ago when his school played another team in Stockton at St. Mary’s school. At that game, I had trouble keeping track of him on the field, but this time he was easy to spot on most of the plays. He plays wide receiver, so he is all over the place. He also holds the ball for the kick after a touchdown.
The Oakmont Vikings started the season well – undefeated the first four games. But once the other teams got up to speed, they have lost a few games. The opposing team from Rio Linda won the toss and had a big lead at the end of the first quarter. Oakmont fought back, but lost 35 – 63.
A month ago, I never expected I’d be sitting on bleachers on a night in October. Life has its little surprises and gifts, like sitting around relaxing with family—a welcome respite after ten weeks of cutting ivy in my yard.
If you want to know what happened between the football game in 1960 and now, you can read the whole story in my memoir, “Looking for Connection” available as an eBook on Amazon here.
As for me, I’ll be busy all week cleaning up my yard from the mess the wind made on Sunday.