I grew up in an era of “no sports.” There were no girls sports in my hometown. I thought I was tall enough, taller than most of my peers, and was totally convinced that I could be good at basketball with some coaching and practice. We lobbied for sports but it didn’t come to fruition in time for me to learn whether I had any ability or not.
So my experience with sports was from the music side. That was my field 100 yards long where we rehearsed, marched and entertained in high school and college. That was my seat in the bleachers in the gym when the pep band fired up the crowd, played a rousing “Star-Spangled-Banner” and then proceeded to entertain ourselves when the athletes fell short as they often did.
I wrote about what I loved about a specific fall weekend in this post that listed MARCHING BAND as a big favorite. It remains a favorite. Competitions, whether a participant or spectator, delight my ears and my eyes. Of course when I know some of the bands or competitors, it’s worth the drive and the photos. Remembering becomes even more important.
When I searched my blog posts, I was shocked. I didn’t panic. I called on my #OLW to “be patient.” I continued to search. I was not giving up. And finally with a change in search terms, I found it. This post from seven years ago. Link
This Saturday will be the 10th and final Ladies Football Academy at the University of Iowa. It will be my fifth because of course, Covid canceled the last two. I anticipate the day’s schedule will be similar. Assigned groups, rotating activities, student/athletes leading us through drills and sessions intended to inform, educate, and even entertain us as we fundraise for the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital.
Here’s the site. link If you have a few minutes to watch the video, my sister is at 1:06 and our group is, yes, holding a Hawkeye player at 2:04. Fun, learning, sporting, and raising money for a good cause.
Yes, I love football. High school and college level. Professional football … not so much.
What’s your plan for the weekend?
I will be with about 500 friends doing the Swarm, tackling some challenging drills, and reviewing WHY I love both football and the Hawkeyes!
Even though the stands will be mostly empty, this is the music I will hear on Saturday!
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Check out the writers and readers here.
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!
(During March, I am blogging daily as a part of the Slice of Life Story Challenge!) Special thanks to the hosts of the Slice of Life Challenge: Stacey, Tara, Dana, Betsy, Anna and Beth. More Slice of Life posts can be found at Two Writing Teachers .
Five pumpkin pushers
A tournament bracket
Forty minutes on the clock.
And it’s one of the “First Four”
Where the team
Has to play its way into the NCAA Tournament.
Held to two points
In the first half.
Second leading scorer
In the history of the university.
Second only to his father
Must come alive
During the second half.
Down the floor
Down the floor
Who will win?
Winner advances to Raleigh.
New Day Today
Grapplers in the wings
NCAA today in Oklahoma
Winners all ten
Ready and primed
Time to shine!
A new day!
Might have beens and could have beens erased,
163 days til the gridiron opens . . . .
The sports cycle continues!