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Grandfather Talking

If you are a country music fan, most likely at one time or another, you have heard the song “I Wanna Talk About Me.” It was a 2001 Toby Keith hit that reached number one on the charts. Its lyrics detailed the relationship of a man dating a woman who constantly wanted to talk about herself and, ultimately, Keith’s desire to put himself in the topic of conversation once in a while.

Since its inception, Webb Weekly has provided me the opportunity to share this space with you every week. Although I may have slipped up on occasions, I realize this space is devoted to happenings on the local and national sports scenes and have tried to minimize the times I’ve brought the exploits of family members’ accomplishments onto these pages.

Today, though, I’m going to talk about me. Perhaps some of you will relate.

The last week in October provided prideful and melancholy moments in the chronological order of the powerful influence sports have afforded my life. As one gets older, those sports achievements of children and grandchildren are of much more importance than what may have occurred early in our own sports moments. Such was the case of my youngest grandson and oldest granddaughter, occurring just a few days apart.

Following a successful high school football season, son Doug’s Tucker was afforded opportunities to play small college football. Ultimately, his schools of choice came down to Lycoming and Juniata. Multiple visits to each school left him with a personal difficult decision to make. When Juniata became his final choice, the date of October 28 became circled in red on the Lowery family sports calendar. On that mild October Saturday afternoon, Juniata traveled to Williamsport to meet Lycoming in a Landmark Conference game.

Since 1987, I have enjoyed the opportunity to watch the Warriors’ home games from a comfortable perch in the press box. On each of those occasions, working with the sports information director, it has been my job to keep the offensive statistics. Those duties offer very little chance to see what is happening on the defensive side of play. That presented a difficult conundrum on this October day.

Grandson Tucker is a starting cornerback for Juniata and has made some positive strides in his first year of college football. My responsibilities in keeping the stats made it most difficult to keep track of what Tucker was doing on the other side of the ball. Some members gathered in the press box knew of my dilemma, and some good-natured ribbing ensued.

The game’s outcome did not sit well for Tucker and his mates as Lycoming dominated with a 56-10 win. For me, it was a mixed bag; pleased with the Warriors’ win but grandfatherly upset for Tucker in his debut game at a school he was considering attending.

On the field, he made six tackles and saw a lot of action on the punt coverage team as Juniata’s poor field position resulted in many punts, but also drew flags for pass interference. Nevertheless, seeing a grandson compete collegiately on a field that has been my Saturday afternoon home for so many years provided a very special memory.

A few days later, I traded the comfort of the Lycoming College press box for a seat on the top row of breezy and cold Lock Haven’s Hubert Jack Stadium to witness the final home game of my daughter, Denise’s, Madeline, collegiate soccer career for the Bald Eagles.

As I chronicled weeks before (October 4 Webb Weekly), her FINAL game proved to occur September 20 at Bloomsburg University during a 2-1 Bald Eagles win. Saving an attempt on goal, a Huskies shot hit Maddy in the head, causing a concussion that ultimately kept her out of action for the remainder of her final season. On this night, she was watching the Bloomsburg rematch from the bench.

As a youngster who had loved the game since her middle school days, having to miss the remainder of Lock Haven’s season was almost as much of a blow as the injury itself. Throughout the ordeal, she stayed with the team, supporting her teammates with as much zeal as she displayed on the playing field. That dedication to her team helped keep us warm as the cold of the evening reminded us that this final game was not what we had hoped we would be attending.

A disappointing 2-1 loss to Bloomsburg in the rematch ended both the Lady Bald Eagles home season and granddaughter’s collegiate career. Meeting her on the field, she remained upbeat and positive despite traces of a lingering headache that served as a reminder that even doing things you love is not always risk-free.

Driving home that evening, thoughts about how many trips we took to watch the grandkids’ sporting events over the years filled my mind. We still have a few years to go with Tucker, but that old adage ‘time flies’ was most certainly prevalent.

I’ve never attempted to write a song, but if a parable to Toby Keith’s song could be penned from a grandparent’s perspective, perhaps its title would be ‘I Wanna Talk About We.’ When it comes to our grandkids, we grandparents tend to do a lot of that!