Football and the moments that take your breath away

At the top of this blog is my favorite quote. It’s a quote I first heard in the movie, ‘Hitch’ – “Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away”. Once I heard that in the movie I stopped it, replayed it, and wrote it down. We put that quote in our wedding programs when Chuck and I got married. We promised to try and live life that way at all times – to the fullest. I sometimes snap a mental image of something I want to store in my memory banks forever. Other times I capture the image with my camera. I never want to forget these moments. They are what keep me getting up out of bed each day.

I have been looking forward to this past weekend for months now. Those that know me know I’m a huge football (the American kind) fan. I love everything about the game. The excitement, the anticipation. I’ve had a few favorite players throughout the years. In the 80’s I loved Steve Largent. He was an amazing wide receiver for the Seattle Seahawks (actually, he was the best) and an amazing Christian. I have an autographed picture of him that he signed with “God Bless”. He never got
pulled over for a DUI or arrested for beating his wife (like many of today’s “role models”). He was (and still is) an exemplary role model and wonderful family man. In the 90’s/early 2000’s, I loved the Denver Broncos, especially their Tight End, Ed McCaffrey. I once waited outside a Seahawks vs. Broncos game hoping to catch a glimpse of my “idol”. All of sudden, he came walking out of the locker room. I said, “I love you Mr. McCaffrey”. He replied with, “I love you too.” I’ll never forget that moment. Recently, I found out about a football and cheerleading camp he started called ‘Dare to Play’ (www.daretoplayfootball.org). It is a camp for boys and girls (and men and women) ages 7-45 with Down syndrome to learn and play football and participate and perform cheers. I found out about his camp while I was waiting for results from our MaterniT21 test. I was searching the term ‘Down syndrome’ on our laptop and it was one of the links that came up. I couldn’t believe it. My idol just became my hero. I got on his Facebook page and told him so. I thanked him for loving and accepting all children. One day, maybe our Eli will go to Colorado to participate in this camp. That will definitely be a moment to take my breath away.

The reason for all this football talk (how many of you have I lost already?) is that this weekend we took Cody to his first NFL football game. Those that follow football know that Century Link Field (where the Seattle Seahawks play) is home to the loudest fans in the NFL. Because of this, I was hesitant to bring Cody to a game where the crowds roar was once so loud it caused seismic activity. We figured a preseason game would be the best as maybe the crowd wouldn’t be as loud – but just in case he does have headphones from when we took him to his first college football game (we’re a football family if you haven’t figured that out). Once the schedule was announced, we knew for sure this would be the year for Cody to experience NFL football. Former QB for the Seahawks, and my current favorite player, Matt Hasselbeck, would be returning to Seattle with his current team, the Tennessee Titans. Matt is a man of strong Christian faith, a family man, and a charitable guy. (Notice a theme with the guys who become my favorite players? They’re all men I’d be proud for my sons to call an idol!). A few months ago some friends went to TN and I asked them to find me a Matt Hasselbeck jersey. They returned with one that would fit perfectly over my growing belly (Thank you Desharnais fam!). Not only would my favorite player be playing in this game but so would Chuck’s – former University of Washington QB, Jake Locker. This game is something that our family has been looking forward to for some time – A ‘rite of passage’ for our little guy. There were many moments that took our breath away. We were 7 rows away from our two favorite NFL players. We had our son on our lap. I was wearing my #8 jersey to show my love for Hasselbeck. It was a beautiful night for football. Cody kept saying “football!” and pointing at the large tv’s at either end of the field. We’d point out that the football he was so excited to see on the tv was actually right in front of us to which he’d reply, “Whoa!”. He kept yelling “Go Huskies” since that is what his Daddy taught him last year during college football season. It was pretty cute. It was fun watching his face light up in wonderment and seeing Chuck’s pure joy in watching his son. Little Eli even seemed to enjoy himself as he would kick up a storm when the crowd would get loud. It was definitely a moment that took my breath away. I can’t wait for many more of these moments to cherish with my boys.

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