The Shepherd's Heart/Proud father -- daughter is an energized football fan

Thursday, September 21, 2006

It seems that I've "created" a monster. A football monster, that is. And it's not who you might think.

Our second daughter, Angela, gives me a pretty good run for my money when she's cheering on her favorite team -- whether it's the freshman Owls, the Northwest Missouri State Bearcats, the Razorbacks of Arkansas, the Kansas City Chiefs, or whatever team Joey Harrington might be playing for this week.

Simply put, she's a fanatic for battles of the gridiron.

When football season comes around, it's almost as if we are in a two-person race to see who can obtain -- and maintain -- a certain level of raw, raspy hoarseness first. It's as if she's trying to yell louder, correct the refs more often, and cheer on her favorite players with more tenacity than her old man. And she usually succeeds.

She does make me proud.

Once, in the not-too-distant past, when yours truly was asked to step back from the sidelines and be quiet by a certain officiating crew at a youth league game in a town just south of here because I was questioning the visual acuity of the referee, she stepped right in and took over right where I left off. But she did it from the bleachers so, actually, the official's blindness came in handy that day.

Another time, when I was just plain too hoarse to cheer for the good guys, she did ALL of the yelling for me -- the entire game. Other fans were encouraging her to keep it up. She was phenomenal. And sometimes she even brings signs with individual team members' names on them to flash about when the guys are on the field. That really embarrasses some of them -- especially her little brother.

One day she caught everyone around us by surprise when she yelled "That's it boys ... Just keep matriculating the ball down the field." It was magical. It was vintage Hank Stram reborn in the form of a 20-year-old female. It was just magical. It was, well, magical. Know what I mean?

Last year, when Angela heard that the Bearcats of Northwest Missouri State were heading south to play for the national championship, she made a couple of calls and before you know it, she and a couple of friends were heading down the road for a marathon road trip that took them from central Missouri to Alabama and back in less than 36 hours -- with a heartbreaking football game thrown in for good measure.

She a fanatic. But she comes by it naturally. I guess you could say that the pigskin doesn't fall far from the goal post, if you know what I mean. And when we're both in good form ... Ahhhh ... what a joy it is.

Bonding. That's what it is. Father-daughter bonding.

You just can't beat it.

The Shepherd's Heart appears on Thursday.