Saturday, May 23, 2009

BIG 52: To Big 52

NAW! I'm not stuttering! I'm observing the Big 52nd Birthday to Norton Football's Big 52! Happy Birthday, Mark.

Kimberly and I had to get in line to observe our son/brother's 52nd birthday. We did ask early to take him to lunch on Tuesday, May 19th, his birthday, but the day was taken. We got in line and he "worked us in" on Thursday.

We wanted his wife, Mark Kay, to join us for lunch but as the Executive Director of the National Association for Mental Illness she was too involved on Thursday. Mary Kay performs a wonderful and needed service to the patients and families of the mentally ill as well as local institutions who are involved with these unfortunate folks. She has received many awards for accomplishments in her field.

Mark chose Logan's Steak House for lunch. He said that in addition to other great foods on their menu, they made a wonderful chicken and/or steak salad. He was right. He and I had a steak salad and our petite little one had the chicken, of course. Looks good, huh?

Mark played five years of football. As varsity nose guard for the League Champion, Norton Panthers, he was the terror of the Surburan League. He was also a center until he was a senior and then only made the long centers for punts and field goals. He was the team co-captain in his junior and senior years. His jersey number was #52.

Someone once asked Mark if his dad came to all his games. He replied that his Dad seldom missed a practice not to think of missing a game. Wasn't quite true!

I have so many memories, however. Like the time the kick off from Copley to the Norton JVs came bounching up the field direrctly to Mark, a lineman. He ran for an exciting 18 yards. Or, the time he and his team mates beat Manchester in six inches of new snow for the league championship. Lines on the field were nonexistent. Brrrr cold in the stands that night.

Some how he managed to keep his game jersey. Well, he kept it, that is, until Mary Kay decided correctly that it was quite ragged and threw it out. Hard to believe, huh?

My jersey number was 59 and I managed to keep my game jersey until Coach Jamison saw me with it. He told me several times to bring it back. I turned in a practice jersey. He thanked me for that then told me to bring back the game jersey also.

After graduation when people had to pay any outstanding debts to the school before getting their diplomas I was reminded to bring back my game jersey. Boo! I also lost my varsity sweater in the Navy. Double Boo!

Kimberly came up with the idea of getting Mark a Norton Panther sweat shirt with his name and number. She found where and I picked it up. I also got him a matching Norton Panther Cap with #52 on the back. We told him to watch out for Mary Kay. HA

Mark was never a big youngster but he held the school record for the leg press for as long as Kimberly was still in school. Haven't been back to the gym since to check. Mark had the good sense to call it a day after five years of football. He was recruited by different colleges but decided to get on with life. Good for him. He is a great Buckeye fan.

Mark observed it would be a long time before his brother Todd got a named/numbered sweat shirt. Todd will turn 50 in June and his number is 67. Kimberly didn't have a jersey number but she was a great athlete. She was a five year Cheer Leader, Varsity Captain as a junior and President of all squads as a senior.

A good time was had by all. Let the good times roll. Beat Wadsworth!

Jonathan Swift:

"May you live all the days of your life"

God Bless!

1 comment:

Mark Pierce said...

What a wonderful blog article to wake up to this morning! And I know you are not feeling the best. Thanks so much for writing it. And thank you for the enjoyable day with Kimberly. Of all my birthdays, this is the one that I remember the best! All my love, Mark