But, it was definitely a week of major ups and downs to get here.
Last Saturday, November 14, was a game against Tennessee Martin where EIU was winning so big by halftime that
As I mentioned in the last post, after lots of fun enjoying that victory, Ken and I ‘enjoyed’ 4 straight days of rain while sitting nearby at Lake Shelbyville . Thank goodness for nearby town of Sullivan and its public library and restaurants or I’d have gone bonkers being inside all that time.
Even with the rain, the campsites began filling up with deer hunters later in the week as the opening of shotgun season approached.
On Thursday, we headed back to EIU for the final regular season game. The game, originally scheduled for Saturday, had been moved to Thursday night to accommodate a contract with ESPN. Besides being a week night it was also very, very cold. Since the students could watch the game on ESPNU in the warmth of the local bars, the turnout in the stands was light.
It was a tailgate where the beverages of choice were coffee and hot chocolate. Of course, as a liquor store owner, Scott Robinson contributed several interesting ‘additives’ for the hot drinks that helped keep our group of fans especially warm. Keegan’s grandma brought a crock pot of chicken and dumplings that was a great comfort food in the chilly weather and was gone in a flash.
It was Senior Night. Sandy Mahoney made the boys this nice cake which did double-duty as a birthday cake for Trev and Kevin’s roommate, Chris Vaccaro.
Because it was dark and ugly, Kyle was not able to get many decent shots of the Senior Night ceremony.
Here’s Trevor bringing me a rose.
And Coach Spoo with Trevor
Thanks again to Sandy King for sending me this picture today in time to make the post! At last minute they handed the Mom’s their son’s ‘away’ jerseys to put on. Since it was so cold that I already had 4 layers of shirts and sweatshirts on, I ended up looking as wide on top as Trevor!
The game itself was HORRIBLE. Tennessee State played very well and EIU didn’t show up. That is except for Trevor, and in this case, that isn’t just a proud mama talking. We’ve been told by those that were watching ESPNU, that their announcers were giving Trev ‘a lot of love’ as well. It’s probably, the healthiest and most injury-free he’s been since beginning of season, and as a result Trevor played awesome. By the end of the game Trevor had broken a 31 year old EIU record with 7 tackles of loss (TFL’s) in a single game. He is also now #9 on the list of total TFL’s in the EIU record book.
Because the game was at night we don’t have many action shots.
Because of Trev breaking the record, they did use a shot of him on the Panther website so I’ve borrowed that here gladly providing them credit. The nice thing about this record breaking is that it means that he will now have his picture and his record posted in every one of the EIU gameday magazines. The last record for TFL’s was 5 and it held for 31 years. Wouldn’t it be really cool if Trev got to take his own kids to a game someday to see Daddy in the record book!! Ok---I know—Mom, you always get a bit ahead of yourself!!
Andre’s Mom, Rose, has not been able to make many games so we made sure to get a picture with the boys after the game.
Andre’s baby brother, Kevin, speaks both Portuguese and English and had me totally confused when he kept trying to get me to cut the boys cake but asking me in Portuguese. He also had a sudden emergency potty break on the way out of the stadium after the game and in a panic Mom rushed down all the stairs and ended up in the locker room trying to find a place to take him. Trevor spotted them searching around in confusion and grabbed Kevin and took off with him to the guys bathroom. Later Trevor was told that he had a mess of reporters waiting for him but since he had disappeared and no one knew where he was they all gave up on him and left! Taking a toddler to the bathroom was a first for Trevor and he was still fully dressed in pads, helmet and gloves so I think it would have been funny to have had video of that postgame episode between he and Kevin!!
Because it was late and dark and cold by the time the game was over, Ken and I had decided to stay on the stadium lot after the game. I had gotten permission for this from the associate athletic director but apparently he had forgotten that early Friday mornings there was a special driving instruction class at the stadium and so the EIU police had to be sure all vehicles were off of the lot overnight. We found this out shortly after midnight with a knock on the door. The policeman was nice about it and suggested that we park just outside the main gate until morning. It was a bit of a scramble for us to get things organized to move that quickly, you know, slides in, antennae down, counters cleared, refrigerator stuff tight… We did good though and were re-settled in about 15 minutes. The problem was that we were now parked close to a large dumpster. We found out during the night that Charleston has more than its fair share of ‘dumpster divers’ with Ken counting at least 3 times that they woke him with the lids banging. That’s really sad but at 3am ‘sad’ is not the first word that comes to mind.
To make matters worse at 6:30 am our low-battery alarm went off. With it being cold the furnace blower was probably sucking a lot of juice through the night and we hadn’t been real careful to insure we were fully charged before we went to bed.
At that point we decided we might as well get up and get moving since neither of us were going to get back to sleep especially since the battery alarm had Sox in such distress that she was climbing all over us trying to find a place to hide. We got dressed, made coffee and then decided we deserved a nice breakfast to start the long drive home, one that we didn’t have to cook or clean up after. We drove to the strip mall parking lot across from our favorite Charleston restaurant, Lincoln Gardens, and enjoyed being waited on while we read the early morning edition of the Charleston paper that they had available. The paper was our first confirmation that Trev had, in fact, broken a school record. Liesurely time in restaurants like this is probably one of the consistent highlights for Ken and I since I’ve retired. It’s time together without the external stresses of TV or ‘to do’ lists when we really seem to be able to kick back and enjoy each other’s company.
As we were getting on the road for the trip back, we had several phone calls with Trevor who was also taking at least part of the same route since he had a noon interview with an accounting firm in Springfield, IL. In fact, just before we got to Springfield he passed us. I really felt bad for him going in to what turned out to be a 4 hour interview after being so sore from the night before. Someone once likened the impact on a college lineman’s body during a game to being in a major auto accident where most of you major muscle groups have been stressed to the max. Especially after the amount of playing time and number of plays he was in the prior night, Trevor knew he’d be stiffening up by sitting in the car and during interviews so I told him to be upfront with the people that he might need to stand up and move around periodically to keep from cramping up. As it turns out, there must have been a lot of football fans doing interviewing because he said it went well and they were very accommodating.
I have postponed posting this blog since it was not until yesterday (Saturday) that I was sure, after Jacksonville State beat Eastern Kentucky that EIU was for sure the sole division champs and assured of a spot as one of the final 16 teams in the FCS Championship.
Then, I needed to wait until 2pm today to know for sure where they would be playing their first game. For some reason ESPNNews chose to give us one really weird twist for about 10 minutes when they first announced that we would be playing the College of William and Mary….at that point Trevor sent a text message saying that we better start packing today to leave tomorrow because we had a 1000 miles to travel. As it turns out though, a few minutes later they rescinded that and showed that we do, in fact, for better or worse, play Southern Illinois. The good news is that this is a short trip for us and the guys. The bad news is that Southern Illinois has been ranked #1 for some time in the polls and we aren’t expected to have much of a chance to advance based on that. Having said that, the guys learned last week, after being on the wrong side of an upset, that it’s certainly very possible for them to come away with this victory.
This has thrown a bit of a wrench in things for Trevor though since he has several major papers in his MBA courses due next week and the coaching staff is moving them to 2-a-day practices. He will be one busy boy for awhile. He also has irons in the fire on his job search that he needs to keep moving during this time. To top it all off he is now showing up in scouting reports.
Since EIU will have a game next Saturday, the boys will not get to come home for Thanksgiving. To soften that blow a bit they and their families are invited to a restaurant called Richard’s Farm in Casey, IL. This restaurant is open only to the EIU team for the evening and parents are invited to join them for a special Thanksgiving dinner. We didn’t go 2 years ago when the boys made the playoffs but plan to go this time since it’s Trev’s last year. Kyle and Jenni will be home Thanksgiving but have to go to Jenni’s grandma’s in Missouri so we wouldn’t be seeing much of them that day anyway. They have to be back in Carlinville on Saturday since Kyle’s Piasa team is in a Thanksgiving basketball tournament. Ken and I have decided to make the round trip to Casey in one day. That way we’ll get to have Thanksgiving with Trevor and still have Friday with Kyle.
On Saturday, the playoff game is in Carbondale, IL at 1:00pm. We will leave here about 7am and then drive back home after the game which should put us back here about 10pm.
With no paychecks coming in, I guess I’m becoming a bit of a penny pincher. My goal for this long weekend is to get holiday time with my boys and our extended EIU family, make the playoff game and do it all as economically as possible. Therefore, I did my ‘anal’ysis of the difference in costs between doing an RV road trip to Casey then Carbondale then Carlinville (to get to see Kyle) then home versus just doing the two one-day long round trips by car. For these trips we really don’t get much added value of having the RV with us since we won’t be using it for tailgating or entertaining.
The RV road trip is 689 miles and assumes that we leave Thursday morning, stay at Illinois State Parks at Charleston Thursday night, Carbondale Friday and Saturday night and Carlinville Sunday night. That’s 69 gallons of diesel at $2.80, $193 in fuel, plus $120 in Illinois State Park fees because of their ridiculous $30 rate on holiday weekends.
If we drive Thanksgiving to Casey, IL and back that’s 450 miles round trip. Driving to Carbondale roundtrip is 525 miles, so even though we are driving 286 more miles by car versus RV, with the Audi getting at least 30mpg highway (sometimes 35!) and gas at about $2.65 we end up paying only $86 for gas, meaning doing the two roundtrips saves us $227 over doing the road trip.
Don’t get me wrong, the RV is definitely more economical when we are comparing equal nights in hotels, paying for dog boarding, and eating all our meals in restaurants But, in situations like this coming weekend, it’s nice to still have the option of going back to the Audi for daytrips.
So hopefully I’ll be back with you after Thanksgiving with some great pictures from the team Thanksgiving feast!