Sunday, September 27, 2009

Football, Part II

We drove to Brussels, Belgium on Friday evening for the 7:30 Varsity game against the International School of Belgium (ISB). We always seem to get lost in cities with lots of canals -- Venice, Brugge, Amsterdam -- and though Brussels doesn't lay claim to a plethora of canals, it's a vortex. This time we had GPS... yet we were still on hyper-alert as we wound our way through sudden V-turns, crazy roundabouts shaped more like rhomboids, and bumper to bumper traffic. I'm glad LeRoy was driving. Especially since Brussels is a beautiful city with quaint bakeries, cafes, and shops.

LeRoy: Do I exit the roundabout here?

Me: (while admiring a corner cafe titled "Via Rome") I don't know. What did the GPS tell you?

LeRoy: She said take the second exit from the roundabout.

Me: (turning my attention to the road only to find we're on a two-lane roundabout with several exits, a couple of them blocked due to construction -- our GPS doesn't clue in to construction) Uhhhh... hmmm. Well, just follow those cars there. (I point in front of me while simultaneously turning my head to gawk at gorgeous Gothic architecture.)

A little further up the street...

LeRoy: Turn here?

I compare the red line on the GPS to the intersection in front of us.

Sharon: That's what it looks like. But... um... uh... be careful...

As he slowly pulls into a turning lane about half the size of a Smart Car. We bulge into the surrounding lanes, holding our breathe while traffic seemingly brushes mere inches from us, until we make the 310 degree turn onto the next street.

Now, in reality, it's probably not nearly as dramatic as I make it out to be. Yet, every experience is so fresh, so new... we're so inexperienced!

As we arrived at an intersection our GPS said in her British accent, "You have reached your destination." We looked around and, thankfully, saw a big banner to the right that read, ISB HOMECOMING!

We parked, devoured the tailgate dinner I'd brought in the cooler, and made the trek to the back of the campus in time for the third play.

The sun's descent framed the football field and our boys in blue and white, the Raiders in red. (That #14 is Eli!)

Some of us sat on the front row of the bleachers. And others of us found a front row seat on the front row.
There weren't any girls Israel's age to befriend at this game. But who says that age matters?

We were sitting directly behind her watching her tell stories in her typical animated form.

Though we lost this game, it was tons of fun to watch complete with lots of exciting plays! But the best was yet to come! The 5th quarter scrimmage started, and... yes... that was #14 running out onto the field!!

While Eli's siblings yelled and cheered wildly for Eli, I became a mad woman with the camera. Most of the pictures turned out a big blur but I took so many that there is a few in the bunch that turned out clear. Like the one above -- with the red arrow pointing to Eli.

I must tell you, Eli has practiced hard in the past few weeks, waiting eagerly for his chance to show his coaches that he can rise to the occasion. To earn the respect of the Juniors and Seniors. It just so happens that I caught this moment on video tape!

"Get em' Eli!" Yeah, there was no way Eli was going to let that guy through.

I couldn't even spot my son after his big play for all the teammates surrounding him momentarily to slug him, whack him on the back, hit his helmet... (Boys have a funny way of communicating encouragement... It would hurt my feelings if my girlfriends used all that aggression to encourage me... giggle)

Eli told us on the way home, "I was praying for a chance to show my coaches that I could do it. I thank Jesus for that opportunity and for His help to make that play."

Yes, Lord, thank You for these many, many blessings!!


  1. Ok, I'm blubbering all over reading that post! I LOVE the camaraderie in your family. "Everybody loves Eli." My favorite. And what a heart that guy has. Makes me want to play life the way he plays football. Slap him on the back for us!

  2. Bethany, I forwarded your comment on to Eli -- and we slapped him on the back for you, too. smile.

    "...what a heart that guy has." So true. He inspires us: to get in the game, play with passion, and thank Jesus for every moment.

    Thank you for all your encouragement. Love you guys!!

  3. It is VERY dramatic driving around a place you're not familiar with. I find it funny that God didn't make more women good with directions. Men tend to be the ones with good spatial reasoning skills, and yet we have to navigate. Hmmm.

  4. OMgoodness! I've read this every day since you posted it, and I SWEAR I left a comment!

    My first thought was of a return trip from the Netherlands, through Brussels, where I insisted on seeing something-or-other. Brussels (if memory serves) has that circular autobahn that surrounds the city, right? What's the word for it? Yeah. It means "around" or something similar, but we were too new and too dumb and (eventually) too furious with each other (and the hungry children in the back) to figure that out. We just kept going around and around and around...

    Sigh. Good times. :-)

    And on to more important things. Football!!! What a wonderful story, what a wonderful young man! What a gift that God made him your first-born, so that he could lead and inspire his siblings. Keep the stories a'comin!