Monday, September 27, 2010

Earn your Stripes

"Row ten, here we are!" The boys say in unison as they scramble into the row. We sit down on the little numbers representing our seats in the long stretch of benches encompassing the stadium. We are here to watch the Princeton Tigers take on the Lafayette Leopards in football. The two boys sit on numbers 11 and 12, my wife and I on 13 and 14 and my sister and her husband on 15 and 16. We do not have any connection to Princeton University except for geographical as my sister lives in the next town, but it seemed like a unique event to experience, a college football game. The experience was an eye opener for the boys, who's futures in college are only a fews years away. Walking through the campus towards the stadium, the boys felt the spirit, the school pride exhibited by the students and the vibe of the big game.

During the pre-game, the rambunctious band, dressed in black pants, white shirts and plaid sport coats, played silly games on the field and the drill team practiced their cheers. When it was time to announce the team, the band ran around in a choreographed confusion until all the silliness resulted in a Mardi Gras like march. The crowd appreciated the fun on the field and cheered as the team ran out of the tunnel, the players jumping and bounding around, getting fired up for the game. The boys loved the celebration, pointing out silly outfits in the band and looking for my son's number in the sea of players (his number is 64). As he spots the number, he quickly searches through the roster to locate the name of the player. My son is trying to recognize the line blocks and my nephew focuses on the kickers and envisioning using his soccer skills to make the field goals. My wife comments on how fast the players are and cringes when a player is slow getting off the turf. I am thinking about my own education and not having the means to go away to college, but am in my glory to be here with my family.

The game is close, each team taking turns stopping the other and fighting hard for scores. Then it starts to look like Princeton is struggling on offense, and are losing ground to Lafayette, but the boys keep their faith in their newly adopted team. With ten minutes left in the third quarter we decide to make our way out of the stadium and then home, my son has his own game to prepare for the next day and did want to get home too late. As we walk to the car, the boys recap the highlights of the evening and how much fun it would be for both of them to go to Princeton, a comment brought a smile to my face.

We finally walk in the door after the long ride home. The boys wash up, brush their teeth and change for bed. I open up my computer and look up the score. As I glance at the results, I run into the bedroom, the room is dark and the boys are laying in bed. "Guess what boys, Princeton won 36-33 in Double Overtime!" The boys jump up and cheer for the win and for Princeton. Go Tigers!


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