Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Shout Out to School

I just had to post this article from the Austin American Statesman about our school, Regents. It is through many blessings and also some sacrifices that we've been able to send Jackson there last year and this year, and I can't say enough good things about the parents, teachers, administrators, and just the entire Regents community. I think this article pretty much sums it up. I didn't have anything to do with this, didn't even go to the game. But I think this kindness is what ALL our friends, neighbors, and family members are trying to instill in our kids. It worked in this case big time.


Commentary: Football field was common ground for Knights, Indians

By Rick Cantu


Published: 9:53 p.m. Monday, Nov. 8, 2010

The boys sat on the gym floor and ate pizza together. They talked about the game they had just played. Adversaries for nearly three hours, the football players from Regents and the Giddings State School now were just kids having fun.

Any contrasts between the players for Regents and their visitors from Giddings weren't readily apparent. On this night, they were brothers in arms, laughing, joking, smiling, enjoying the feast before them. It didn't matter that one team represented a private school in an upscale neighborhood of southwest Austin while the other team consisted of young men who have been incarcerated in a juvenile prison.

On a cool autumn night this past Thursday, the Knights and Indians were bound by one common thread: football.

And although it was Senior Night for the Knights, the Regents boosters made a pact to root for the visitors. They wore royal blue to support the Indians and they made posters for each player and trainer. The Regents fans also created a large banner for the Giddings State School players to burst through in pregame festivities, baked brownies for the Indians and bought shirts for the visiting coaches that had "Indians" stitched across the front.

Regents wore its road white uniforms on its home field, and let Giddings State School occupy the home bench. Knights cheerleaders, meanwhile, pulled royal blue T-shirts over their outfits and cheered for the visitors.

This was a display of unbridled compassion from the fans and players of one Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools team toward the players and coaches of another.

"At first, it felt a little weird," said Lisa Moore, whose son Luke is a Regents wide receiver and safety, "but the fans quickly got into it and didn't miss a beat. Once they saw that the parents of our senior players were embracing this gift to Giddings, the rest of the fans joined in."

In an e-mail to Regents boosters, Moore wrote that players for Giddings State School "don't have pregame meals from Chipotle or fancy uniforms for both home and away games. (In fact, they don't have ANY home games.) No parents making posters or ringing cowbells. Giddings is part of the Texas Youth Commission and houses the boys that the courts have labeled as violent offenders.

"They live behind a 14-foot fence wired with motion detectors and patrolled 24 hours a day by guards. They get to play football only if they have served at least half of their sentence, follow the rules and are willing to practice while it's still dark outside. This is because their after-school time is filled with therapy sessions, work duty and meetings with caseworkers. Their roster can change from week to week as boys become ineligible due to behavioral issues or as boys are released or even moved to adult prisons. So each game they get to play could be their last."

Indians coach Sandy Brown said his team operates on a "shoestring" budget, and guards surround the practice field to make sure no one ventures off. It's a far cry from Giddings High School, which receives all of the town's attention on game nights.

"I have been here 31 years and although some schools kind of adopt our kids and do things for them, it is rarely to the extent that Regents went to," Brown said.

"It really makes you appreciate the school and the coaches. You realize we're all kind of in a brotherhood of helping young people to grow up and achieve their dreams, regardless of where we came from or what we've done."

Regents (9-1) defeated the Indians 51-0, but after the game, the boys gathered together and prayed. Regents players offered their opponents gift bags filled with cookies and a Bible. In each book, Regents students had written personal messages of encouragement.

Then the two teams devoured 50 pizzas.

Brown said Regents' generosity and sportsmanship left a positive impression on his team.

"I don't tell many people this but I hit a policeman with a beer bottle when I was 16, so I know what it's like to be in trouble," Brown said. "But what I tell my kids is that although you can't change anything about yesterday, you can change tomorrow if you want to. So anytime someone like Regents shows the kind of love and respect for my kids like they did last Thursday night, it gives you a real sense of appreciation for that school and their coaches."

While the boys from Giddings State School enjoyed their trip to Austin, the players and parents from the home team won more than just a game.

"We got more out of this experience than the Giddings kids probably did," Lisa Moore said. "I hope it is a lesson in servanthood, kindness and generosity that our boys and their families can take with them forever."

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

More scouts

Mat's dad recently sent us this picture of himself as a cub scout. I guess this must have been taken in the late 1950s. We love the picture and also the fact that Jackson is able to be in scouts now and do some of the same things that boys were doing decades ago before soccer and video games and Star Wars took over.

One of the things that really sold Jackson on the idea of doing scouts was a trip he and Mat took at the beginning of the school year. They got to go down to Corpus Christi and "camp out" on the USS Lexington aircraft carrier. The Lexington is a WWII ship that was decommissioned and is now permanently docked in Corpus and available for tours. After the usual business hours of the day were over, the scouts got to stay on board and spend the night in soldier's bunks inside. I think this was probably one of the coolest things Jackson has gotten to do in his life as you can see from the pictures.

Mat and Jackson got to travel down there with our good friends, the Sewells, and on the way home they stopped at the beach. It was Caleb's birthday.

I stayed home that weekend and hung out with some of the other moms and younger kids. We had a good time too, but we really missed the big boys and were glad when they were home from their adventure.

Here are some more pictures of Jackson and some of his buddies at the football game where the scouts did the flag ceremony.

Luke enjoyed the game too and was sporting his Rangers jersey. This was the night the Rangers beat the Yankees and secured their spot in the World Series. What a great night!

And here is a picture just taken from my phone of Jackson's den singing "God Bless America" at our pack meeting last night. The boys are learning about citizenship this month. I love the things they're learning and everything that scouts is all about. It's also fun to see Jackson making great memories and lifelong friendships.

  © Blogger template 'Minimalist C' by 2008

Back to TOP