My dad was not as religious as most Texans. Don’t get me wrong, he was Baptist, loved God, was a deacon, and he and mom served as medical missionaries on every continent but Antarctica.
But on Friday nights, he was unlikely to be watching High School Football. Friday night football gets more Texans to pray than any hurricane and some wars. It is arguably Texas’ state religion.
My grandparents cheered for Temple High, but the gene skipped dad, which points up a failing. He did not see my older brother, Buck, play much in Junior High, JV, or Varsity. Buck had two stats that held until the end of South Park High, I think. 1) His punts had the longest hang time, which Buck kicked barefoot. 2) Buck was the leading tackler on special teams: he hung the ball in the air long enough to get down and nail the poor sucker who caught it and failed to signal “fair catch”.
He lamented seeing mom in the stands, without dad, who was saving lives in the emergency room or surgery. Life saving, true, but as important? That judgment is above my pay grade.
Things that befall us shape us, one way or another. Since Kafka, many become angry, or wounded at their dads’ failings — okay — probably long before Franz wrote his heart breaking stories that his dad never read. It broke Kafka. He had no sons.
The story is Buck was recruited by Darrel Royal and told he could kick, but not attack. Buck rabidly cheers for Texas, but never played under such panty-waist limitations.
Dad is long gone, Buck had two boys, made enough mistakes to know fathers need grace, and Hunter and Leigh now have their strapping son, Kaden. Kaden plays football.
Buck has traveled with Carole from their mountain hideout in Mora, New Mexico to see Kaden play ball a few times.
Buck and Carole dropped the bombshell last week. They’re selling the house in the mountains, and moving back to Central Texas. Carole said simply, “Buck wants to watch Kaden play ball.”
Buck thinks we choose in what direction things that befall us shape us.