A Sunday Full of Memories

A Sunday Full of Memories

Looking back at my childhood I can recall a number of specific memories that have stuck with me for one reason or another.  Whether it was receiving a gift that I had longed for…or taking a trip somewhere special…these memories were strong enough to stand the test of time and still remain relevant in my life.  If I had to wager a guess, I would say this past Sunday night will be one of those memories that Cameron will cherish, and be able to reflect upon when he gets older.  What is it that made the night so special you ask?  Cameron and his soccer team were lucky enough to serve as the “Starting XI” at the Colorado Rapids game!

The opening ceremonies of a soccer game are truly one of the best of any sport.  Rather than just running onto the field from the locker rooms like many sports, each team slowly exits the locker rooms, and proceeds to walk hand-in-hand with a youth soccer player (the ‘Starting XI’) all the way to the center of the field.  The children then stand in front of them during the national anthem, and get to be part of the pregame ceremony.  Cameron and his team served as the Starting XI for the visiting DC United team, and it was certainly something that will stick with each of them for a long time.

I have to admit that when I saw the weather forecast for Sunday my heart sank a little bit.  We had experienced back-to-back 80 degree days, yet for some reason mother nature decided to bless us with a 50+ degree temperature drop, and the promise of 1 – 2″ of snow.  The idea that the game could potentially be cancelled was something I couldn’t even think about.  Not because of the planning or organization it took for all the families to come together…but because the thought of having to tell Cameron that he wasn’t going to be able to go that night was just too much.  Thankfully, we received word that the game was on – ‘snow or shine’ – and were able to refocus and get ready for the big event.

Arriving at the park with the kids was something else.  Sure, they were freezing…but it didn’t stop them from laughing, joking, running around, and just having fun.  Often times I find myself so wrapped up in parenting that I forget to just step back and watch my kids experience and enjoy something.  Watching Cam’ and his friends just engrossed in the experience is something I will cherish.  The boys were treated like royalty as they were led through the park and into the locker rooms.  While waiting to change they talked with some of the Rapids personel about random stuff, high-fived the DC United team as they were heading out to practice, and just behaved like the eight and nine year olds they are.  (Seriously, they high-fived everyone…from cameramen, to a guy pushing a hand-cart, to a random woman walking the hall…I couldn’t stop laughing every time someone came in the hall – because I KNEW they were all going to stick their hands out!)

After being escorted into their own private locker room, the boys frantically changed into their Rapids gear.  As part of the experience, each kiddo received a new pair of officially licensed shorts, socks, and an official Rapids jersey.  I must have told them five times each that “Yes, you get to keep this stuff!”…they just couldn’t believe it.  Once changed, my services as chapperone were no longer needed, and I left the kiddos in the good hands of the Rapids staff.  I was escorted to a location out in the park where I could videotape the procession as it walked by.  I ended up standing there for a good 10 minutes.  I spent most of that time checking the clock, and making sure my camera was ready…but it still seemed to take forever.  I found myself telling anyone around me that “my son is coming out soon!”  A few of the people gave me an congratulatory reply…a few of them just smiled…and there was one who looked at me like I was nuts.  Come to think of it, I had been smiling for a good 30 minutes, so perhaps my half-frozen-perma-grin face was a tad unsettling.  Anyway, where was I…right, the boys!

The music began…the doors opened…and out came Cameron and his team.  They looked so young, yet so proud.  Each of them with a look on their face that shifted from pure joy, to nervous excitement with almost every step.  They did so good…and I found myself just screaming and clapping and hooting and hollering like I was a kid.  I watched them stand out there and I couldn’t wait for them to come back so I could ask them “How was it??!!”  I wanted to soak up every ounce of their experience and enjoy it as if it were my own…because, in a sense, it was.  I began to wonder if my motivations for planning this event were truly selfish…and I went through all this trouble so I could enjoy watching Cameron.  No…I think that ended up just being a most-welcomed side effect ;)

After the ceremony we were escorted back to our seats and got to enjoy the Rapids winning the game handily 4-1.  Many of us stayed frozen in our seats until the end.  Sure, it was cold…but it was almost as if we didn’t want the evening to end.  Eventually we all headed to our cars and said our good nights.  Good night to a bunch of kiddos who showed me how to truly enjoy something to its fullest.  Good night to a group of friends that Jen and I have been so blessed to get closer to.  And good night to a memory that will last a lifetime.

It was truly special for me as I was able to serve as one of the chaperones, so I got to follow along with Cameron and enjoy the experience even more.  I shot some video and put it together for people to enjoy.  Due to a combination of nerves, excitement, and 20 degree temperatures, the camera is often shaky…so I apologize.  Still though, it should give you an idea of what an unbelievably special night it was for the boys.  My suggestion is to watch it in HD (you have to click the little 360p^ to the right and change it to 720p), and you might be better off pausing it and letting it load all the way through since it’s > 8min.

As always…thanks for reading! If you made it this far I’m extremely proud of you (since I was in a particularly ‘wordy’ mood!!)

Take care,

5 Comments

  1. Matthew

    I forgot to put in a ‘thank you’ to the Miller family for sharing the pics. Hope you don’t mind me messing with them and sharing them on my site! ;)

  2. meg and andy

    super cute video, Matt. Thanks for posting. And we loved the screaming mom in the background…who WAS that anyway?!?! ;o) It was probably me from the other end of the stadium…

    • Matthew

      Screaming mom? Huh…I didn’t hear anything. I’ll have to go back and watch it again.

      ;)

  3. Mom (aka Grandma)

    What an experience they had! Great video. You got it right, Matt, when you said that one of the great things of being a parent is when we get to enjoy watching the joy and excitement of our children. Experiencing that also kind of lets you be a kid again yourself. Fun video to watch and see not only the fun my grandson was having, but also my son! Loved the post and so glad the game wasn’t postponed. The kids had to be freezing!! What a great group of kids!

  4. rusty

    Its been busy and crazy the last few days! And I type slow! Great posts. What an amazing 1800 mile trip. and what a super fun video and soccer experience for the team! Great job Matt!

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