Everyone in my family was somehow involved in the football team. My two older brothers were players, with my oldest brother actually receiving a college scholarship after his high school days were done. Two of my sisters were in the marching band. My youngest sister, she was a cheerleader. My mother, she was one a great supporter of the team. Few things she enjoyed more than putting on her Tiger garb and cheering the team on. Rarely, did she miss a game.
Oh, and me? Well, I didn't play football, much to the disappointment of my mother. She had hoped all of her sons would go on to become gridiron greats. But that was not in my future. For one, even though I loved watching football, I was no fan of getting hit. Don't get me wrong, I could take a hit, I just didn't see the need of taking one, if I didn't have to. Football required that I both give and take hits. Some would call this fear. When I was in high school, I weighed all of 140 pounds. At that size, I didn't call my dislike of getting hit fear, I called it common sense. But since I loved football so much I wanted to be around it as much as I possibly could. So, to be involved with the team, I became an equipment manager, which meant I did all the jobs the head equipment manager didn't want to do. But I was satisfied with my role.
The fall brought our entire town together. During football season, we were in lock step. Everything had a purpose, a meaning, as long as it was related to football. Some of the best times of my life were spent in that stadium, watching the games, being a part of it all. And even to this day, 34 years later, I can hear the crowd cheering, the band playing, the cannon going off as the Tigers scored another touchdown. It was a wonderful childhood. It was a great town to grow up in. And while it seemed all about the football, in reality, it wasn't. To me, it was all about coming together to create wonderful memories, a legacy that continues on to this day.
Yes, life does go on. We grow. We move. Our interests change. But the legacy that we leave behind, for others to embrace, continues on. So as I age, and live in different places with different addresses, I know, that on Friday night, during any given week in September, that the legacy that I was a part of, the legacy that I, along with my family and countless others contributed to, continues on. I know, that in Northeastern Ohio, in that small city of Massillon, there are nearly 20,000 fans screaming at the top of their lungs, "Go Tigers!". And that is a legacy in which we can all be proud.