Stifling back a sob, I wiped the tears slowly dripping down my cheeks with my head down. Afraid to make eye contact. Literally in fear of seeing 413 women surrounding me in tears. Seeing it would make it more real. Certain that the tears would become a river leading to the turf in Kinnick Stadium if I actually saw how many others were also crying. I could hear sniffles, nose-blowing and out-loud crying. Superimposed over our anguish was the joyful and vibrant voice of eleven year old Christopher Turnis, Honorary Captain for the Iowa Ladies Football Academy.
Christopher totally rocked his time with the microphone. Funny. Articulate. A young man who currently has a feeding tube in order to survive, who has already had one kidney transplant and YET has endured over 40 surgeries and 1000 nights in the hospital who stood in front of an audience to thank his family at home and his family at the U of I Children’s Hospital and Clinics for all their support because he’s never “done anything the easy way”.
It was truly a blessing that we met Christopher at the end of the day. It was an emotional roller coaster as his mother was the next speaker for the record-breaking crowd in Kinnick’s south end zone before Mary Ferentz announced that the participants had raised over $346,614. The top prize went to a participant who had raised $8,000 herself.
So what do women really do at a seven hour football camp?
The agenda went something like this . . .
Tours and Instructional Presentations (2 hours): All – American Room, Weight and Conditioning Room, and Team Room
Lunch at Kinnick
Choices: Tours of Locker Rooms, Practice the “SWARM”, pictures with the coaches and players, visit with other participants, testing individual skills and checks on sunscreen and hydration built in.
Introductions: Coaches and Teams
Drills: Rotations through blocking, passing, footwork, defense, fumble recovery, meeting with special teams . . .
Speeches by Coach Ferentz, Christopher, his mother, and Mary Ferentz
And highlights look like this . . .
The line outside to “ENTER” in order to register when the doors opened!
The positive vibes and signage everywhere! The intentionality of the daily care of the Iowa Hawkeye football players! (signs in the weight room)
And the infamous visitors’ lockerroom inside Kinnick.
Such an icky, icky pink . . .
And then inside the Home locker room (these walls are not pink – odd tint in the picture)
The players and their own mothers who were part of the day’s activities.
This picture was special as Coach and I chatted about our gandsons named “John” (mine would be eight months older)!
And, in fact this was our last family photo with Coach after the 2014 win at Indiana that heralded our family expansion.
Former standout Mark Weisman, also from 2014, back with the Hawkeyes this summer.
And one picture with QB CJ Beathard
It was an amazing day with valiant young men who treated us all like royalty. Kind, thoughtful, teachers for the day who inspired us with their growth mindset and fun-loving attitudes.
It was a day to make memories and to consider how it feels to be a novice absorbing new learning in a field full of experts.
“Was that out, cut, and ?”
“Or left over right, cut, and ?”
Thanks to my generous sister! With her sponsorship and donation, it was a privilege to attend and learn with 413 others at the Iowa Ladies Football Academy.
Interested in learning more?
Check out these sites.
How have you challenged yourself to try to learn something new? What did you learn about yourself? How do you continue to “put yourself in the learner’s shoes”?
Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. Thank you for this weekly forum!
Joyful is my #OLW!