Saturday, May 18, 2013

Indiana Football Hall of Fame

A couple of weekends ago, my dad was inducted into the Indiana Football Hall of Fame! 

He grew up in Hammond, IN - outside of Chicago - and had an incredibly successful high school career. In fact, many of his records still stand. After high school, he went on to the University of Wisconsin - Madison where he played quarterback. While a brief career in the pros might have been possible, he chose job security and went to medical school. 

Being inducted into the Indiana Football Hall of Fame - or any hall of fame for that matter - is a BIG deal! So the entire family scuttled back to Chicago for the big event!

We flew in Saturday afternoon, checked into the hotel and immediately went to dinner at Ditka's (you know? the famous Chicago Bear's coach? - he has a streak restaurant!) in downtown Chicago. My grandmother, aunt, uncle and cousin joined us! 
It was a fun, classic, midwestern evening!
Steak, steak and more steak!!

Court and my cousin, Jud, met for the first time!

So nice for my grandmother to have an evening with both of her children - and their family -
under celebratory circumstances. 

She even made a toast saying that being all together - particularly so close to Mother's Day - was the best gift she could have hoped for! Cheers to that!

John Andrew & Uncle Jim
Where are your drinks fellas? Let's get this party started!

Aha! There's the champagne!!

Nothing like drinking champagne and taking pictures!


A really fun evening!
Grace and Charlotte joined us for dinner and were as good as gold but for one minor incident where Grace "fell" out of her chair. I use the term 'fell' loosely. There may have been some pushing involved by a certain 2 year old. I was capping off my champagne when said incident took place so I didn't see what happened - only dealt with the after effects.
The champagne in me took over and promised a trip to a toy store the next day and VOILA Grace was cured! Nothing like the promise of a toy store to EX-CER-SIZE the demons!!

The next morning, Chicago was sunny and beautiful! Windy and chilly but sunny. Tulips and spring flowers were in bloom everywhere. I am kicking myself for not taking any pictures but I was busy eating brunch and tracking down a toy store whereby we wouldn't have to walk by the American Girl store - AKA empty-your-savings-account-for-a-doll-store. Luckily, we were able to track down the Disney store and all was well - particularly the pocketbook!

The actual ceremony was being held about a 1.5 hour drive outside of Chicago. So we left at about 2 to meet relatives at my Grandma's house. Grace and Charlotte fell asleep on the way there and Court took one for the team by sitting in the car with them while we all went inside. It was a good thing we let the girls rest while we did! It ended up being a late night! Much later than we anticipated. I doubt Grace and Charlotte would have lasted through the ceremony without that cat nap in the car.

The ceremony consisted of some high school athletes being recognized for their achievements followed by dinner. After dinner, each inductee was introduced after which the inductee was allowed to give a speech. Initially, Court and I were unsure if we were going to be able to attend the event so my sister had been nominated to introduce my dad.  My sister is a really good public speaker and she is REALLY good at winging these types of things. So when Molly rolled into town, sick as a dog, I had a sinking feeling. 

After being passed the baton of giving my dad's introduction, I had a few hours to pull together a few ideas. I was nervous. Not because I was anxious to speak in front of a large group of people but because I didn't want to embarrass or disappoint my dad. This was a big deal and it was important that my words were as impressive as his accomplishment.

A-before-speech picture. Yes, I look how I feel. Like I am going to vomit. 

I made it through my speech.
Bumbled it a bit. Cried in places I didn't think I would. Got a laugh or two. Heard a few crickets.
Overall, it wasn't the worst speech.
Could it have been better?
Emphasis on the much.
The good news? 
It wasn't the worst. 

My dad gave a truly great speech. 
Relatable. Humble. Thankful. Heartfelt.
He thanked his parents, his coaches and his teammates. 
Shared memories and the bigger meaning of football. 
It was a great speech.

After that, I could finally relax, have a drink and enjoy the evening!

Like I said, it was a long evening. 
An enjoyable evening but a long one!
I don't think things wrapped up until 10:30 or 11 and the girls were present the entire time!
They really were rock stars (as was Court) who manned them by himself for the first couple of hours of the night

Dad with his fellow inductees.

Congratulations Dad!
A well deserved honor and we are so happy we were able to be there to share it with you!

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