Tonight the University of Montana Grizzlies played in the National Championship in football. Alas, they lost. It got me to thinking about 1995 and one of my favorite days in Montana. They did win the Championship that year (Nearly impossible to believe that it has been 13 years since then, nearly). That whole year in fact was just incredible. My first apartment on 711 Palmer Street. Will and Dawn moved to Msla too, and were in the dorms. Griz Nat'l Championship. My first year single and in college, full of fun. It wasn't until the next year when I actually learned the rules to football, but I loved going to the games with my new roommates who made a big fun deal of it. In 1996 - My friend Aimee's dad was disabled and her parents had a skybox. Now when you go to school in Montana you learn to watch football in COLD weather. For example, this last week the Griz practiced for their title game in minus 5 weather. Walking across campus in minus 40 with wind chill was not uncommon a few times a winter. So parents with a sky box in Missoula was a major find! What's not to love when you are 19. Aimee's dad and his old men friend welcomed us with free warm food and free beer and the rules to football. Wait a minute! So you get four tries to go 10 yards? And that's that? Why oh why didn't someone try to explain that to me earlier than on the verge of my 20th birthday?!?!? No wonder it was no fun to watch guys smashing into each other not going anywhere hearing long division or multiplication or whatever other numbers were flying- 1st and 10, 2nd and 4, 3rd and 15! The first number is the try they are on out of 4 and the second number is how many yard to go to get another try? That is HONESTLY incredible, what a great game.
All my girlfriends were diehard football fans. Loving whatever team there dad loved! So for Robin and Dawn that meant the Griz, hands down. Dawn also loved the Cowboys, Jeni Flynn loved the Broncos. At the time, I didn't know why I didn't love anybody, and I certainly didn't understand my roommates did.
It was this year-2008- during football season that I got it. I mean I knew that people, in general, became aligent fans with their dads, but I didn't know why. Until I saw Lily in Lawrence's nook on a cool but sunny September morning waiting for the Buckeye kickoff. She felt so important under the weight of his arm while he described who they should throw the ball to. She looked up at him with her eyes dancing with excitement as he included her in one of the most important things to him. As he burst with pride when she yelled O-H-I-O and she called red 'Scarlet' instead of red. That's why. That's why little girls love football. In the midst of a broken foot, and what I felt was a bit of a broken home (in my laid up opinion)...I got it. Their love was so indescribable.
Addie does the same thing for him, if only a touch. There's a touchdown and she does hands up, TOUCHDOWN. And he melts with the biggest and most beautiful smile on his face. She, too, will always watch football and think of her daddy with admiration, and love him as she roots his team on in later years.
College football Saturdays have become something I love love love at our house. Lawrence is so happy, we have friends over, he entertains, cooks, he is at his best. I eat, drink-coffee in the morning, a few beers in the evening--I can thank his dad for his love of sports. Some wives find it annoying to have sports fanatic husbands, but not me. I never worry if he'll find something to talk about with a newly met friend's husband. It's one of the few times outside of our family life where I see him truly passionate about something. He's extremely enjoyable to be around while sports are on. I can tell that he loves me more because I love him for it. And I do, and I'm not just saying that to try and be a cool wife. But it doesn't hurt that he things I am one for it, though.
He's definitely adopted the Griz since we met. He really loves them. He loves Old Griz. He loves Monte. He loves Missoula. He loves Paul Parsons. He knows the coach's name, and where he came from (Colorado I think), he knows how many rushing yards Reynolds averaged this season. His sports trivia in general is fantastic, really, uncanny.
Griz football, and seeing the stadium the last few weeks on ESPN has been very nostalgic for me. With both my girls getting free T-shirts from Monte's kids club. (Ordered by the loving husband) A few weeks ago, on TV, the sun started to set over Washington-Grizzly Stadium, and the field was partial sunny and partial shade. I could see the frosty breath of the fans. My stomach turned. In a good way. It was an incredible slash weird memory of being freezing cold in the stadium as the sun set and barely being able to see the field from the bright glare. And by the way, not having a CLUE what the rules were to this game. :)
Anyway, that's my ode to the Griz. Good try boys, even though you didn't win it's been fun getting to catch 6 games this year and one in person even. It's been fun for Lily to recognize our mascot and know that this is my team as opposed to thinking all football belonged to Lawrence. It was fun to take my friends to a game at PSU, and share something sports related that my husband and I really cared about together. It's interesting how a sports related post also turns to a good daddy/family post. There are moments in our life where I imagine myself as a little girl with a dad as great as Lawrence-what that would have been like for little girl Jenny, and it reminds me how lucky my little girls are. It's always so easy to recognize the things you aren't doing right, and unfortunately it's even easier to recognize the things you think that he isn't doing right. But how blessed we all are, and how important it is to realize it when you see things going very, very right. Those are the things I want to ingrain in my heart forever about the childhood of my babies.
(All pictures on this post are courtesy of our last visit to Missoula, Montana for homecoming in 2003.)