Well, this week I was going to write about the trip down to Hartford for the Middlebury/Trinity game, but the weather was nasty, it was all freeway, and due to some automotive challenges when I got to the game I wasn’t able to do the usual walk around the campus. Instead, a tradition the parents of the Middlebury Panther players have made me a part of.
Tailgaters in college football are everywhere. There are the tailgates done by clubs, organizations, alumni groups, and in this case the parents of the players. It all started for me when I received a very nice e-mail from George Hrdina, the father of running back Stefan Hrdina who was complimenting me on the quality of the broadcasts. I went to go say hello at the Colby game and was offered breakfast, coffee, and even some snacks for the game. I was then more or less ordered by Donna Secor, the mother of captain and defensive back Scott Secor, to join them after the game and for the rest of the gatherings throughout the season.
To say these guys and gals put out a spread would be like calling the Grand Canyon a hole. There is chicken, pasta, drinks of the adult variety, but most importantly, it is a chance for the players to talk to their families, and get a good lunch after a hard fought game. In the case of Saturday’s game at Trinity, there was a cake for linebacker Eric Woodring whose birthday was on Sunday and of course everyone sang happy birthday to Eric.
Being someone who isn’t used to being on the inside so to speak, I have gotten a chance to get to know the players and their families in a more relaxed setting. Tiger Lyon’s parents fly up from El Paso, Texas for every game, and his sister comes for the home games. Scott Secor’s parents come from Lake Odessa, Michigan, and Mac Conn’s family came out from my old stomping grounds in Piedmont, CA. This is something the parents do for every game and they love every second of it. I have learned that Scott Secor was injured as a freshman, and barely knowing anyone always had a room full of friends in his hospital room to keep him company and give him real food. By the way, Scott already has a job lined up on Wall Street. This weekend I met Eric Woodring’s family for the first time, along with about another 10 family members of other players that Donna introduced me to. I am getting the chance to find out what makes these players the outstanding young men they are, and just how tight knit the entire Middlebury College family is. This is a point of view that most broadcasters don’t get the chance to get. Thanks everyone for making me feel part of the family.
By the way, as I say hello to this wonderful woman during every broadcast………Hi Donna!!!!