As Angela returned home on Saturday from New Orleans, I took advantage of the remnants of her adrenaline rush and whisked her off to the Bronx..to my high school reunion. [insert cliché here] It was scary how the years have simply flown by. While many of us have gained a few pounds or lost a little on top (well..some) it was nice to see that there wasn’t much of a struggle in recognizing those that were such a part of my past. After getting filled in on occupations, relationships, child count and stories that I “forgot” to share with my wife, I was pulled aside by three fellow, ex-gridiron athletes. Down the hall from the reunion was our football locker room and the guys were secure enough to let nostalgia play host for the evening.
Roughly 25 years after getting our butts kicked, on a rainy Thanksgiving Day bowl game, was the last time I was in that room. While it’s hard to put it into words, there’s something about visiting an empty space when it had contained so much life. Aside from our masking taped names on the lockers that were replaced by strangers’ and the fact that many of the sharp details have faded, one thing was for sure..that room did not age. I honestly felt the same energy as soon as I entered it. This naturally led to a story swap that the long ago Thanksgiving Day defeat couldn’t curb. Each of us recalled an anecdote or two as quickly as it came to mind that Saturday night. Towards the end of our brief visit, it was clearly obvious that my big offensive tackle was struggling to find the right words for a surge of emotion. Until Phil simply said, “We really gave a $hit about each other. No matter what was happening.”
We did and 25 years later, there’s a handful of them that I’d still trust with most anything. For the mathematicians out there, high school is four years. To gain such a bond in such a short period, is nothing shy of incredible. After all, it is that power of relationships that makes us real. However, for a myriad of reasons we grow older, so very busy and preoccupied within our lives, that we miss out on many chances to foster such strength within our own family. One thing I’ve taken away from that evening is to take advantage of what’s in front of me. OK, perhaps two..I’ve gotten soft in my old age 🙂