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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Tailgating...a Family Tradition

I did not grow up in a family that spent a lot of time playing or even watching sports.  My dad did watch them, but our lives didn't revolve around it.  There are times when I wish that my parents would have at least given me the choice, but I never even questioned why they didn't.   Vicki and I played basketball some when we were very young but eventually turned to cheering, where we stayed the rest of our school years. 
Jeff, on the other hand, grew up in a family that would find it hard to even imagine a life without sports.  Jeff and his brothers all played baseball and other sports, and their mom coached basketball.  She had also played basketball in high school and college.  So, while I may never love sports as they do, I have had to learn to be a part of what is going on.  We have given all of our children opportunities to experience different sports, but we have never made them play anything that they did not want to.  It makes me so angry to see a child playing a sport when it is obvious that he is only there because his parents want him to be.  One thing, however, that all us do together is tailgating at our local college.  Most all of us have graduated from there, and my father-in-law is still Chief -of- Police there on campus.  He also travels with the football and baseball teams and loves for us all to be there to support them. 
I don't know which direction our kids will take when it comes to their view on sports, but it seems as if they are somewhere in between Jeff and my backgrounds.  As long as I know that we have offered them the opportunities and let them decide what they want to do, I am happy with whatever sports they do or do not choose.  One thing is for certain, though.....every college home game here we can all be found in the same spot on campus, eating and hanging out, waiting for the game to start. It is one of the times when my father-in-law looks the happiest, and that makes me happy.  His excitement is contagious, and people are drawn to him, as well as my mother-in-law's amazing spread of food and treats.  Ginger even gets in on the fun and loves all of the attention she gets. 
Like all the traditions that are so important in our family, tailgating will always come back around each year.  Maybe, if it is the path they choose, our kids, nieces, and nephews will be tailgating there as students one day....sooner than what seems possible!!!



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