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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Friday Nights

He's the little boy the  older cousins blame everything on.  The one who loves dump trucks and HeMan, and climbing in the trees, and eventually onto Grandma's roof.  He's the one who led the parade when Butch died and we had the funeral by the river. 

And then there is the boy who pulled the fire alarm, who told Wallace to play "them naked ladies", the one who shocked me as a three year old when he wanted to order "beer... Budweiser" from the concession stand when we went to watch the Rugrats at Thanksgiving.

I'm sitting in the stands, gloves on with hot hands in.  It's not that cold, but then again I'm dressed in three layers, sitting on a blanket, snuggled between my Mom and my Dad.  I'm surrounded by family, because that's how we do things.  This year, and last, we were the TO fan club, cheering that little boy with the mischievous smile who somehow grew up overnight on to victory.  And what a few years it has been.  Getting lost going to Campbellsville, yelling at the refs because of bad calls, cheering on for touchdowns... we've had fun.  And as I'm sitting there, ready to watch them take the field, I look down and see these two embrace.  The older cousin, hugging his younger cousin.  Patting him on the back.  And I get tears in my eyes.

See, I'm one of the older ones, and those younger cousins feel more like my kids.  I can remember the excitement when we found out they were going to be born.  First Nora, then Mom, then Dana, making their announcements, and that's how they were born... Allie, then a couple of hours later, Kami, and then Brayton.  And us older cousins, well, we taught them, and picked on them, and egged them on.  That might explain why each group is a little bit meaner, or sassier, or self-confident, than the last, because they learned...

So here we are, the end of another Senior season.  Each one is different in its own way.  There was Glenn's, as he dressed in 56 and took the field the last time as a Bobcat, only to return a few years later to help coach.  There was Jordan's where  we all pulled out purple and gold from our predominately blue and white closet and stood for Jackson's School song to watch him win a Regional Championship... only to leave broken-hearted when they got oh so close.  Then Gentry's, where this sweet kid who had the most adorable smile left it all on the soccer, basketball, and baseball field.  Last year, Kami, who had cheered her whole life, and Alaxandra, whose skills at softball amaze this old woman.  And now, Brayt...

As I watched him return the kickoff, moving down the field, down by 3 touchdowns, I was misty-eyed again.  And Dana stood up and yelled and Mom rang her cowbell and Kami yelled, "Come on boys!"  Mike Fugate and Wallace were sitting up in the stands complaining, as usual, and Lisa had moved to make room for all of our extended family.  And Brayt plowed down the field again, and Glenn on the sideline cheering him on. 

My family... even if we lost, there is no other place I'd have rather been on a Friday night.  Surrounded by all of these crazy people...

No, not a win.  But I am so proud.  And tomorrow I'll wake up and it will be basketball season, and then in two years it will be Landry.  Time goes on.  We live, and love, and play our last game.  I'll keep cheering regardless, knowing that in the end, it's not about the game.  It's about the people, my family, and the family that those boys form on the field.  Tonight, I'm proud to be a Bobcat... and I'm still cheering TO... cause after all, next week is the Clemons Clan Turkey Bowl =)

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