April 27, 2010
by DJ the Sports Mom
As I sit here gazing at the most gorgeous yellow tulips I have seen this season, I am reflecting on how thankful I am right now and how different things were a year ago. I just returned from our 12 hour trip from The University of Kansas (KU) and I am still smiling from the experience.
We hadn’t seen our son Joshua since Christmas break and we could not wait to get there and see how things were shaping up with the new coach. At the end of last season, his former coach had resigned and Coach Turner Gil, formerly the head football coach at the University of Buffalo was chosen to replace him. I had heard wonderful things about Coach Gil and Josh sounded like a new person under his guidance.
I learned my lesson about waiting too long to book a hotel room and was delighted to get a reservation at the Marriott Springhill Suites. It is close to campus and was the hotel where we stayed for Josh’s official visit to the campus two years ago. It is such a nice hotel and has two rooms that allowed us to spread out. It is also a great spot when you travel with a family. There are two flat screen televisions in the room, two queen beds and a couch bed in the living room. They offer a nice breakfast at no additional charge and there is an exercise room, indoor pool and hot tub. It is especially nice after the long ride from Ohio and after walking up and down the hills on the campus at KU.
I made an appointment to meet with Coach Gil and was delighted when I got a call right back confirming that he could meet with me and my husband, Glen on Friday morning. He was everything we had heard and more. He talked about how he wanted to do what was best for the team and how he cared for the players. His goal is not just to make the players the best athletes they can be but also to be men who make a positive difference throughout their lives. He has assembled a group of competent and caring coaches who are committed to making this happen. This is what I had been praying for and I was so happy to see the change from last year.
The previous year I was disappointed to find that Josh did not get much playing time in the spring scrimmage and I am sure Josh felt the same way. I encouraged him by telling him that he had to bloom where he was planted. He couldn’t control how often he got to play but he could make sure he was prepared to play whenever he got in. I also encouraged him to become the best student he could be while he was waiting for his turn to play. He received academic honors last year and continues to do well academically.
For two years I have tried to connect with parents to form a parent support group and this year, with the help of the coaching staff, I was able to make that connection and have a core group to get started. I am so glad I didn’t give up my dream of helping parents to connect. Josh may have gotten discouraged over the past two years but he never gave up on his dream to become the player he knew God was grooming him to be. He still has more growing to do but he is well on his way.
The spring game ended with the team doing an autograph session for the fans. We ended our stay by going to dinner at Firorella’s Jack Stack Barbeque on the Plaza, with Joshua, his friend, Monica and her mom and dad. The food was delicious and the ribs had all of us licking our fingers. That area has some of the best shopping in St. Louis and is so picturesque. We even saw a horse-drawn carriage that looked like it was straight out of the Cinderella story.
I was so thankful that we had made plans to just drive four hours to St. Louis and stop at a hotel to sleep for five hours. We stopped at the Red Roof Inn. It wasn’t the Marriott but it was clean, affordable ($54 including the tax) and close to the highway exit. There was a Bob Evan’s Restaurant on the hotel property so we ate breakfast there and made it back to Columbus before dark.
Some things don’t change. Josh didn’t disappoint me and I could only smile when he told me he needed a little help with his laundry. Glen and I took 6 loads of clothes to the Coin Laundry off campus and bonded while we washed dried and folded clothes. It was not a bad deal considering we haven’t had to pay for tuition, room and board nor a book in the two years Josh has been there. What a huge blessing!