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Adventures in Germany

Last night Cole had his first game under the Friday Night Lights.  Football is not big here in Germany, soccer, oh yes, but football?  That’s a whole other story.

The most important part of the story is that only “our” high schools have teams.  That means a lot of travel time for our teams as they bus throughout Europe for their games.  It also means a lot of long roadtrips for the proud parents (that’s me! And Dave!).

Yesterday we drove 4 hours (it’s 2 1/2 hours, but, well, Friday afternoon on the autobahn is not at unlimited, breakneck speeds) to get up to K-town and cheer Cole and the Panthers on for their first game of the season.

It has been an unusually cold summer here, and Fall is in full swing.  The boys were warm, even hot during play, but up in the stands the cold, wet, rain chilled me down to my bones.  Shhhhh! Don’t tell Cole his mom may be getting just a little old.

Despite the cold, despite the rain, a night game is exciting!  Our boys were slow to warm up. The K-town team has, *gasp*, astroturf!  At home our boys play on real grass. Maybe that is why they were slow to start?  The first quarter left our hearts in our throats and my voice hoarse.  It was instant bond for me, Dave and the other proud parents rooting for our team.  There, in the middle of Germany, we found a little bit of small town Americana.

An away game, a 3-hours away, away game means a smaller crowd on the “guest” side.  We more than made up for the smaller audience by whooping & cheering & encouraging our team.  Soon enough those boys found their footing on the slick, fast astroturf and rallied for a resounding win.  Final score? 41 – 20.  Go Panthers!

This is Cole’s first year playing football, despite being a junior (Football is a Way of Life), but he is on the Varsity team, albeit second string.  Second string is hard for our puppy.  He had to wait till the 4th quarter to finally get on the field and play.

And he played.  He played hard. He played fast. He played strong.  Can you just see my heart bursting with pride over here?

Friday Night Lights

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Way back in the dark ages, I was a high school cheerleader.  Back then I loved football! I loved the smell of fresh grass, the energy of the crowd, hot dogs, cheering. I loved night games under the bright lights, those are almost magical. I loved football.

As the years passed, and we left California shortly after Cole’s birth (and my beloved 49ers), we watched less & less football as a family.  There wasn’t enough time in a day to shuffle 4, 5, 6 kids to school and all their activities and watch football.  Maybe because of that none of my kids played.  Until now.

For two years Cole has been begging me to play football.  Don’t get me wrong, I still love football! But Cole had severe asthma when we moved to Germany.  I had fear of him rolling around on grass. It has been two years since he’s truly had an attack, after talking to his doctor, and clearing him to play, I signed on the dotted line.  Cole is on the football team!

OMG! Football is not cheerleading.  Football is a way of life.  There are daily practices, diet changes, meetings, fund raisers, emails flying left and right…. aaaaaaaaaaah! I’m dizzy from the demands of being a football mom!  Cole, on the other hand, is glowing. Usually with exhaustion, but also with pride. He loves being on the team.  I have never seen him work harder at anything in his life.

Friday is his first game.  It is a night game.  I can’t wait!

IMG_8390

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My packages to Christian have been taking forever to reach him.  Poor kid is going to think I don’t love him.  That is the last thing he needs.  Afghanistan is no picnic, and it’s been hard for him.

Yesterday I drove all the way to Kelly, the furthest local base from me, to mail him some much needed moleskin for his torn-apart feet.  And toothbrushes.  Apparently toothbrushes are in high demand to clean the sand out of radios & weapons.  Who knew?

I went to Kelly because our mail services have been drastically cut, and it was the only post office open. I really wanted to get Christian his much-needed supplies as soon as possible.  I must’ve said something to the mailguy, I don’t remember what, because he took a look at me, leafed through some forms, and then said;

“I got an idea.” His idea turned out to be to bypass the guys in Moron, Spain (real place!) and send Christian’s packages directly to Kandahar.  Because. Standing right next to him was a big, old, white bag tagged “Kandahar”.  Now, he made no promises as to what will happen after the mailbag got into Kandahar. It might not get on the next plane, or truck, or camel out to Christian but Kandahar is a lot closer than Spain.  I’ll take it!  That guy is my new favorite guy.

On the way back home we got caught up in a stau (traffic jam), umleitung (detour) and a massive downpour.  It made a long drive already longer.  Dane started getting a little restless, so Cole tried to amuse him. I only listened with half-an-ear, my thoughts were filled with Christian and my concentration was on the road, but it seems that Cole was having Dane polish his gold hairs.  Kids.

Later, I found Dane in the bathroom brushing his hair, a big grin on his face:

“I have the most gold hair of anyone! I bet it’s worth $100!”16AUG14

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