I already knew that my Saturday was going to be full – but it got even “fuller” when the high school football game I was announcing on Friday evening was suspended by lightning. The athletic directors, coaches, and officials met and determined that the game would resume at 10:00 on Saturday morning. And I started sweating – because I knew that I needed to be on the road by 11:00 to fulfill I very special commitment I had made.
Thankfully, the game ended in an hour on Saturday morning – and by 11:01 I was on my way to the car. I arrived at Havenhurst Park in New Haven, Indiana (150 miles and 2½ hours away) just as another high school football game was starting . . .
This game was between the Grand Valley Christian Patriots and the Tri-State Christian King’s Crusaders. Grand Valley was the team I came to see – from Grand Rapids, Michigan, they traveled about as far as I did. You can’t make him out in this picture, but the quarterback carrying the ball on this extra point attempt is at the bottom of the pile (under #4 in maroon) – and he is Jesse Solis, son of Deb and Sam from “Stamp on It.”
I have known Jesse and his sister, Talia, since they were little – and when I found out a year ago that Jesse was going out for football, I told him that I wanted to come watch him play this fall. I knew that last season they had played a couple of games in Indiana, so I bugged Jesse all spring and summer for a schedule. Once he finally got it, I knew this game was my best chance – their other two Indiana games this season are close to South Bend and that’s another 1½ hours each way for me.
Deb has to be the Number One Patriot Fan – she was shooting video of the game (both for Sam – who was at a show in Buffalo, and for the team to watch a few days later). I walked the sidelines watching the action, but wherever I was I could hear Deb screaming “Let’s Go Patriots – Wooooooooo!!”
I was taking pictures with my cell phone and texting a play-by-play of the action to Sam. In the picture on the left, Jesse got hit just as he threw – but the pass was completed. In the picture on the right, Jesse had better protection and I got him just as he released the ball (it’s just to the left of the orange first down marker) – that pass was completed, too.
After the game, I got a chance to spend a few minutes with a very tired, battered, and sore quarterback before we headed our separate ways. I suspect he is still sore today.