Diary of a Dad- Time for Kickoff (September 5, 2014)

c1e69-123I have been asked to contribute a weekly column to our local newspaper, The Nebraska City Newspress, my goal is that people are reminded that they are loved, they are not alone, and that we can do positive things together as a community. Here is this week’s column, it’s called “Time for Kickoff”

Football season is upon us!

Let’s be honest, it’s the real religion of in this country and I am chief among sinners. My particular denomination is the NCAA and my church is at Mountaineer Field in Morgantown, WV. I worship at the altar of ESPN’s College Gameday every Saturday morning. I give my kids my phone or iPad and say, “You want to go watch videos in your room?” They happily oblige because by they’ll be in front of a screen more on a Saturday afternoon in the fall than they will during the week.

I’m not proud. This is my confession.

But, man do I love football. I especially love the West Virginia Mountaineers. My wife will tell you that I have an unhealthy emotional attachment to the games, the players, the coaches, and even the state. I’ve cried, laughed, got so angry I wanted to throw something, and celebrated like I won the lottery, that’s all in the first quarter. I know some of you Husker fans are the exact same way.

Starting my 21st month living in Nebraska City, I’ve noticed a lot of similarities to my beloved West Virginia. There are no professional teams in the state so people rally around their team with reckless abandon. The state has good hard working folks and many tightly knit small towns even if some of them have to change in order thrive.

We, here in Nebraska City, are no different. We’re going to have to rethink some of the ways we do things and some of the things we do in order to become the beacon of hope in Southeast Nebraska I know we can be.

One thing we don’t need to change, but might need to enhance, is our commitment to support the young people in our town. One really easy way to do that is show up. Show up to games, concerts, plays, quiz bowl, Destination Imagination, recitals events, fundraisers, open houses, even if you don’t’ have children in the school system or at that particular school. Yes, that means going to Lourdes games if you don’t want to travel to the Nebraska City Public School away game and even going to Pioneers games if your family attends Lourdes.

There are a lot of great things happening in this town and there are a lot of great people here. There are also a lot of kids that need support and if we want them to grow up loving this town and wanting to see it thrive as I have in just 21 months then we’re going to have to put in some effort.

When I was serving as a chaplain in a hospital we had a mantra, “Don’t just do something, stand there.” It was a reminder that just being there was important to the families and patients. So I’m going to challenge you to go to as many games, events, concerts, recitals, academic challenges, science fairs, etc. that you can and cheer your face off. Cheer for your kids, cheer for someone else’s kids, cheer for good effort, cheer for our town, cheer for our future.

Maybe, just maybe, we’ll be able to show those kids, the visiting parents, and anyone that visits our wonderful town that we are in this together, for the long haul.

I’ll close with an Africa proverb:

“If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

May we continue to move forward together.

At dinner every night, my family goes around the table and shares their high points and low points of the day. We call it “Favorite” and “Not Favorite”. Here’s my “Favorites” and “Not Favorites” of the week.

Favorite: Pioneer victory over Auburn; watching my beloved Mountaineers put up a good fight against Alabama; the behind-the-back catch in the Huskers game; a great meal with neighbors. (I told you I liked football)

Not Favorite: This was a pretty good week, so I don’t have a not favorite this week.

I love to connect social media. You can see more of my writing and thoughts on my wife’s and my blog (nebraskabolt.wordpress.com) or follow me on twitter. (@ggbolt16)