Saturday, December 19, 2009

Graduation Party!!

Trevor graduated last May with his BS degree in Accounting and will graduate this coming May with his MBA. That didn't stop us from also getting in a December graduation party on Friday for two of Trevor's close friends and fellow football players, Kevin Mahoney and Andre Lima, who both were receiving their bachelor degrees on Saturday.

Kevin's request was that we plan his party somewhere that he could get a steak so we chose the Alamo Steakhouse in Mattoon, IL. They don't normally take reservations but with the number of people we had they were willing to set aside an area for us. Unfortunately I had not considered the fact that the Division I-AA football championship between Villanova and Montana was on TV at exactly the same time and they had us in a room without television. The management was very understanding that these guys HAD to see the game and worked things around last minute so that we could sit with good views of their large projection TV's.

We had met some of the guys and Kevin's mom at the 'Meat Mansion' (ok, rather crude name that is used for the house where Trevor, Kevin and Chris live) and then had car pooled over to Mattoon. The guys were quick to get the party started!

Andre and his family arrived shortly after. We were really surprised to see Andre with his new hair! His long, long, dark curly locks are all gone and he's now donning a more 'professional' hairstyle. This short hair will probably be a blessing for his 6 week trip coming up to return home to Brazil. Then he'll be heading up to Chicago to begin his internship with a construction management company.

There was one guy who was not particularly thrilled with the change over to the other side of the restaurant. We could now see the TV's but Andre's little brother, Kevin, couldn't reach the top of the table from his booster seat!! He quickly decided he preferred big brothers lap over the booster seat.

We were suddenly quite surprised to have Coach Spoo, the EIU head coach, drop by. He and his coaching staff were having the holiday dinner at the restaurant. We took the opportunity to snap some photos of the graduates with Coach. Coach Spoo has been named OVC Conference Coach of the Year and is currently in the running for the National Coach of the Year. 20% of the vote is based on internet votes so you can help Coach bring in some really big bucks for the EIU team by giving him a vote at this website.

This is Coach Kray who always helped with the D-Line. Nick Kray's cousin Mike Shanahan, an EIU alumni and former Denver Broncos coach is apparently now in contention to become the next Washington Redskins coach. EIU is known as the NFL 'Cradle of Coaches'. Besides Shanahan, for example, New Orleans Saints Heach Coach, Sean Payton, and Minnesota Vikings Head Coach, Brad Childress are both former EIU Panthers. In addition there are several current NFL assistant coaches that are EIU alumni.

Forrest Jackson, the coach of the Defensive Line, dropped by to offer congratulations as well. Coach Jackson has one of division championship before so he showed us his ring and we were passing it around to get some idea of what they guys would be getting. There rings won't arrive until after the holidays unfortunately.

As most of you know, Trevor had originally signed with and played at a D1-A school, Bowling Green State University. He played his last game with that team against Ohio State to a packed house of over 105,000 at the famed Horseshoe. (We had thought that after playing their he'd never want to leave 1-A ball but we were wrong and it turns out he made a great decision). When he decided to leave BGSU and come to Eastern, two of his best buds, O-Linemen at BGSU, Guy Williamson and Kevin Mahoney, decided to transfer with him. Although Guy later left EIU to go to work with his father, he came back to celebrate Kevin's graduation. It's been a long time since I've had a shot of these three guys together.

Sandy Mahoney, brought a cake for Kevin and Andre. I'm thinking the sign behind them is appropriate advice to these former football players as they move on from their college days. It says 'Live life like it's the 2 minute warning'!
It became apparent the rest of the evening that these guys are having no problem living life to the fullest!
Stuffed from a really great meal, we all headed back to the 'Meat Mansion' for 'Beer Pong' competition. The guys had their stereo attached to a laptop providing loads of great Christmas music as background straight from 'YouTube'. (I'll have to get Trevor to set up similar playlists so we have the videos/music as background for our upcoming family gatherings). I was surprised that there are also a variety of 'Beer Pong' songs/videos on Youtube as well. Spending a Friday evening with university students is a very 'educational' experience!

Ken and Trevor were doing quite well as a team. I stayed out of the competion - might have felt differently if there was such a thing as 'Margarita Pong'!

Of course, as the night proceeded there were plenty of rounds of shots and toasts to the new grads.
At midnight, when Ken and I were ready to call it a night, the rest were ready to start hitting the bars. I'm very happy that Trevor's house is within easy walking distance from most of the Charleston night spots, since to them the time at the house was only the 'pre-game'.
On our way back to our motel, Ken and I and Sandy Mahoney deposited the group at their first stop, the Panther Paw. I was surprised that the Paw was so packed considering Christmas break had started but apparently the hundreds of mid-year EIU grads all had similar ideas about where to go to enjoy one of their last nights on campus.

Saturday, the official graduation day, Andre had the early round of graduations so we didn't get to see him. However, since Kevin didn't graduate until afternoon, the Mahoney parents, Ken and I, and the 'Meat Mansion' boys met for breakfast at Lincoln Garden Restaurant. It was amazing that these guys were up and about at 10am considering they were still partying at 4am!! As we left the restaurant there were hugs and best wishes from all the various waitresses since this restaurant has been a regular meal stop for the boys for years now.
We know we will continue to see Kevin since he is going to stay in Charleston until he finds more permanent work. However, it was really sad to say our good-byes to Andre since we don't know when we'll be seeing him again now that he is leaving the area. These football guys are a true brotherhood though and I've no doubt that these wonderful guys will be Trevor's lifelong friends, and forever a part of our extended family.
Next post I'll fill you in on just how much I DON'T like travelling without the RV!!
Hugs, C

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