The trials of a fan, Pt. 4

Oct. 20, 2013 @ 06:32 AM

I know I missed a week with my column, but Wal-Mart wasn’t the only place affected by that pesky squirrel the fried in that electrical substation. But don’t worry, I’m back to complete the four-part series chronicling my ups and downs of fanhood.

I’ve shared the happy memories, the sad memories and the memories that made me want to scream. This week I’m closing the series with the moments I felt the most pride.

The situations that jump to mid are very unique. They aren’t related to particular teams that I’ve grown up with adopted as my own in recent years, instead, they’re all about the people involved in the accomplishments.

When I went off to college in 2007 I was excited about the prospect of playing intramural sports. The sport that grabbed my attention the most was flag football. The problem was, I hadn’t made enough friends in the first few weeks of school to form a team. Luckily, I had the option to sign-up as a free agent.  From there I was placed onto a team made up of other free agents, basically we were 10 strangers.

That first year we weren’t much to speak of, but the next year we stuck together for the most part and added a couple pieces and mange to be a pretty good team. But our third year together was the one to remember; all of the late-night practices and tournaments we traveled to paid off.

That third season we won the UNC Charlotte campus championship. Which may seem trivial, but ti be crowned the best group of flag football players at a school with over 25,000 students and hundreds of teams was an indescribable  feeling.

That night was one of the coldest I can remember, but nothing mattered as all of our hard work came together. I was thrilled, but most of all, I was proud of us.

The group of strangers I met two years prior had become my best friends.  When I look back at the photos from that night I am still overcome with pride because of what we accomplished. We set a goal, worked hard and achieved that goal.

We all discussed getting tattoos to commemorate our championship, but that still hasn’t come to fruition.

The second and most recent memory came courtesy of a group of young men and their coaches.

Following the IM 50/70 All-Stars from Rutherford County to California for the IM 50/70 World Series was one of the most memorable weeks of my life.

Yes, I spent most the week working from a hotel lobby and small trailer in the middle of old baseball field, but I had plenty of time to learn about this group of young baseball players and the men that helped them to that point.

The team didn’t perform as well as they hoped when that made the journey across the country but I, along with the entire crowd that traveled to watch its own and the county the team represented, could not have been more proud of that collection of boys.

They played hard, lost with dignity and won with respect.

I was there as an objective observer and I covered the team as such, but as I listened to head coach Curtis Snethen speak to his team after the tournament ended, I was incredibly proud to be a witness and a part of the journey with this team.

So in the end, it doesn’t always have to be your favorite team that you’re proud of. In fact, I don’t know if pride is something you can relate to a team that you don’t have direct, emotional attachment to.

I’ve been excited and thrilled with my favorite teams when they win games or championships, but to accomplish something with a group of close friends and watch a team of impressive young men and even more impressive leaders and mentors means even more to me.