I still remember the first time I was "qualified" to go to a football game with my daddy. My parents had eight children; so they had a million rules for when you could "qualify" to do things. It was a cold fall day, and I had just turned eight years old, the magic University of Utah football eligibility age. The sky hung low and heavy over our heads as I raced to keep up with my daddy climbing the steep streets that lead to the Rice-Eccles Stadium. We bought our treats and scrambled up to the top of the stadium. Our seats were the third row from the top, so they were easy to find. It was very important for us to be in our seats before kickoff, which made everything leading up to the kickoff a mad rush against the clock. We had just settled into our seats when a light rain started to fall. Everyone opened their umbrellas. It was a sea of red and white with a smattering of black umbrellas here and there. Despite the rain, Daddy and I had a great time.
Each year, I returned to at least one game each season with my daddy. I cherished these moments and looked forward to our time with great anticipation. My dad and I became best friends at the football games. I could ask my dad about anything and know that he would answer me honestly. I intently listened as he described his childhood, my grandmother who had passed away before I was born, my parents' courtship, politics at work and life in general.
When I was about to turn 16, I had to complete several more hours of supervised driving so that I could trade in my learner's permit for a driver's license. The University of Utah was playing their opening game at Utah State University. Dad really wanted to go, and I really wanted to get those hours; so I drove the long trip up to Logan, Utah and back. We ate huge hamburgers on the grass as we watched the "Utes" trample the "Aggies" with the sun setting behind us in a marvelous array of purples and reds.
This Saturday I will have the privilege of climbing those steep streets leading to the stadium once more. I walk a pace slower now, so that my daddy can keep up with me. I will balance drinks, popcorn, nachos and peanuts with our red stadium chairs as I make that long journey up to the 46th row. (This ability to balance many objects really came in handy as a mother.)
In all my years of watching, I haven't ever really learned much more than the basics about the game of football. The details of the actual game have never mattered to me as much as the time invested into my dad. Truly, the most important lesson I have learned from watching football is this: Treasure every moment that I have the privilege of spending with my great teacher and friend--MY DADDY.
Submitted by Anonymous