Saturday, November 14, 2009

Best-Ever November Day

Today was a November day that will go down as one of the best.

In summary:
-Lucy's last soccer game
-Battle Academy's first festival with fun and games
-Mocs last home football game
-Moving halftime tribute to our military
-Mocs win in a dramatic comeback
-A marriage proposal that capped off a great win
-Playing on the field after the game
-Food, drinks and fun at The Terminal
-Being with family and friends throughout the day

It started off earlier in the week looking at the weather forecast - sunny and 70 degrees on Saturday November 14. I knew then that with everything we had planned and hoped for, it was gonna be a great day.

It started off waking up in bed with my son and my daughter looking at me, waking me. I began the day thinking about my Mocs. Could we get our 6th win? Was today, as beautiful as it was, going to be that day where we really do turn a corner?

We hurried around taking showers and getting dressed for Lucy's last soccer game of the Fall season.

Lucy started the season shy but opened up as her first organized sporting experience carried on. Her coach, Cleveland Grimes, of the North River Soccer Association made it a very positive experience. Lucy's Nana and Papa were also at today's game and got to see her score a goal and receive her first trophy!

High-tailing it home, we changed clothes and headed out to Battle Academy for the first Battle Grounds Festival. Battle Academy, on Main Street in the Southside, continues to be a great school and is doing great things in the community. We are happy that Rigby is in first grade there.

The festival featured a medieval theme, with people in period attire and fun and games from a time long ago. There were also modern games and a couple dozen local artists selling their passions. Two of our favorites, Beth Gumnick and Steve Swayne were there to support the cause.

As the clock neared 1 p.m., we drove down to Finley Stadium, where our Chattanooga Mocs were taking on The Citadel in the last home game of the year. This was not an ordinary game, it was a game where we could really live our theme of "Restore the Glory" with earning a 6th victory for the year and having a winning record.

We spent an hour in the Stadium Club with our dear Copes before the 2 p.m. kickoff. A great crowd was on hand, only to see our Mocs fall behind 21-0 before the Mocs kicked a field goal to make it 21-3 at halftime. I felt depleted.

Rigby, meanwhile, was having an absolute blast running around with one of oldest friends, Aidan, his brother Wyatt and cousin Gavin. They ran all around the stadium doing what kids do. Aunt Tobi-o-Wan was at the game with us and the Hamakers joined us as well.

The halftime show honored each branch of the military while the UTC band played each branch's song. As the color guard from each branch walked out on the field, veterans and active duty stood in the crowd. There was a 21-gun salute, Taps was played and bagpipes played Amazing Grace. That alone was worth being at the game.

After a joyful, yet rather somber halftime, the Mocs took the field. The Mocs made it 21-6 then 21-13 but gave up a touchdown and Citadel was up 28-13. Many fans started leaving. For some reason, we just felt like this year's Mocs were different and that there was still life in them.

The Mocs scored a touchdown and got the 2-point conversion to make it 28-21. And what do you know? The Mocs went for an onside kick and recovered the ball! The Mocs drove down the field but stalled, and settled for field goal to make it 28-24.

And then after a game of porous defense, the Mocs held and Citadel punted. A Mocs punt return for 53 yards to The Citadel 9 yard line happened, but I had to read about it because I was jumping up and down and hugging people.

There we were, down 28-24 and it was all of a sudden 4th down on the Citadel one yard line. Ah, but the old reliable BJ Coleman to Blue Cooper pass play into the endzone gave the Mocs the lead with four minutes to go and the extra point got us to 31-28. The Mocs defense held strong for the remainder of the game and our boys earned their 6th win of the year!

After the game, we all went down on the field. My family, Steve Hamaker and son Foy, the Copes, D. Smo, Alan and Scott Cooper clans all running around throwing football.

Meanwhile, a video montage of Blue Cooper and his girlfriend appeared on the video board. Turns out that Cooper, who caught 14 passes for 139 yards and two touchdowns, was using this to propose to Maci Gault, teammate Jare's sister. What a bonus for the crowd that stayed!!

After taking pictures and throwing our arms ragged, everyone finally left Finley. The sun was setting on one of the more memorable games ever held in the stadium's 12-year existence.

We headed to The Terminal Brewhouse with Steve, Foy and Tobi. When we arrived and chose to eat outside on the green roof, we were delighted to see Eva and Lori Hairrell and other friends who were enjoying a Saturday evening. Eva has been Rigby's "girlfriend" since they were 12 weeks old.

Family, friends, pizza, beer and good times closed the evening for us all.

So if I was to write about a perfect day, this was one of those days. Thank God for the life we have been given.
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