Thursday, January 31, 2013

It’s Football Banquet Day!

I’m looking forward to a very special event tonight.  One I’ve been fortunate to have been a part of twice before.  I’m very excited about it – although anxious too.  It has tremendous meaning to me, especially this year.
Tonight is the varsity football banquet.  A chance to once again spend time with the entire team, their parents, the cheerleaders,  the coaches and the staff that so faithfully helped put each game together and assisted with all the practices and the behind the scenes efforts to run the club.  
It’s a family unto itself and I’m blessed to be a part of it!  These are amazing people who donate time, effort, food and open up their homes to the players weekly for socializing. Keeping them all organized is tough! I can’t wait to be in their space again, however brief it might be.
I know this banquet has been no small undertaking and that a lot of thought and care has been injected into it on Chris’s behalf.  I’m giving a shout out of thanks to everyone ahead of time here - but I fear it will never be heartfelt enough when I say it out loud tonight.  I truly appreciate everything, I know it hasn’t been easy and I know I don’t know half the details of what’s been done in putting the evening together.
Chris passed on December 1st.  The original date for the banquet was to have been December 6th however, Deanna was buried that day and Chris’ wake hadn’t even happened yet.  Everything was postponed until a more appropriate time when the focus could be on the celebration of the players and their fabulous season.  It’s well deserved by every one of them.  I’m looking forward to applauding them and embracing as many as I can get my hands on.  They’re such great kids with generous and kind hearts. 
Some introductory season for Coach Clawson…  It will be locked in his memory for more reasons than I’m sure he’d care to think about.  He definitely didn’t sign up for this kind of kickoff in his career but what a magnificent job he and his coaching staff have done with our boys. Well done!  Tonight we get to revel in the highs of this brotherhood, of this football family and the camaraderie between us. 
I had a conversation with Coach Clawson not too long ago when he was sharing details about the events to come at the banquet.  I’m not so great with surprises these days and have a need to know what’s happening.  I had one probing question plaguing me that Coach was able to soothe… I wanted to know if any award Chris may be receiving was genuine.  I only wanted him to win it at the banquet tonight if he was going to have won it on December 6th.  I don’t like the idea of Chris being gifted an award he didn’t earn just because of the accident.   
Coach Clawson told me that all the award winners had been chosen well before the accident and whatever Chris might receive tonight was deserved. WHEW!! Tonight, Mike and I won’t be accepting anything Chris wouldn’t himself have stepped forward to receive had he been here on December 6th for the original banquet ceremony.  I’m really pleased about that!

I wish all the players a wonderful night tonight.  Whether they’re sophomores, juniors or seniors they played a wonderful season together and I’m so happy to sit alongside them. 
I anticipate shedding tears of joy and sadness with all the people Chris loved.  Chris will be with us.   

We will honor him and remember him and that will be special.  Together we will celebrate the end of his high school varsity football career and I know he’ll be right up front smiling and cheering as each of your names are called to be recognized as a part of SHEN football.  I love you guys, keep his spirit going by doing good things for yourself and others.  Chris would want that today and always. 
  Thank you for reading.  GO SHEN!


  1. Good Morning Gina,
    Again, I find myself smiling reading your blog. Tonight will be special for you, your family and the entire Shen Community as you honor Chris and these wonderful boys and their accomplishments this year. Thank you for sharing these incredible pictures and memories with us all. Have a wonderful time tonight, I can just imagine the love that will be in that room!

  2. Morning, Mrs. Stewart.
    I'm so glad you have this today. It seems like it will be fun and melancholy, but a good experience all together. Keep your chin up and remind the boys to as well. I have no doubt Chris will be there with his SHEN family tonight.

    Hannah Cowley.
    PS: wonderful pictures!

  3. Have a wonderful time tonight. I know it will be bittersweet. Thank you for sharing and God bless.

  4. Enjoy the evening and know that Chris will be right there too!!!!!!!!

  5. Regina,

    Wow, my heart and prayers are with you for tonights banquet. What a bittersweet evening it will be. I know Chris will be right there to recieve his well deserved awards. What a gift for you and Mike to be able to celebrate #69 one more time.

    I am so grateful that you were concerned about Chris being given other awards because of the accident. I would have wanted to know the same thing. It truly shows what a class act you are and gives us a true look into your character. A character you display so often that we are all getting to know so well. That explains your sons kind heart and gentle demeanor.

    Enjoy your evening I am sure the Shen family will make you proud once more and your son will be honored as he should, and many tears will be shed.

    God Bless, XO

    1. BTW, I love these pictures especially the last one where he is leading his team out onto the field, It is so cool how his number stands out!!!!(well actually I love them all!)

  6. I read this with a catch in my heart, tears in my eyes and an overwhelming sense of what you will be experiencing tonight. The end of the season banquets are so amazing. The energy always moved me and was so amazing to be a witness to. Seeing the athletes as a whole commended for their teamwork and success.

    You speak volumes with your words and the first sentences alone had me stopped in my tracks. "I’m looking forward to a very special event tonight. One I’ve been fortunate to have been a part of twice before. I’m very excited about it – although anxious too. It has tremendous meaning to me, especially this year." The school community continues to be compassionate and amazing. Postponing the football banquet, knowing, as you described the work that goes into rearranging it, and then the Coach talking to you and calming your concerns. It's just all so amazing.

    Chris will undoubtedly be there with you and Mike. Knowing what a special young man and talented football player and a leader, I can only imagine the bittersweet emotions that will be running through your veins. I'm glad you received the reassurances from the Coach of the questions that were weighing on your mind. You have spoken about your thoughts about keeping Chris real and remembering him just as he was. I'm glad the Coach reassured you that "the award winners had been chosen well before the accident and whatever Chris might receive tonight was deserved." I know I will be thinking of you and sending emotional hugs. I will look forward to hearing from you when the time is right about the banquet and the memories created there tonight.

    I will be in Boston at the wake of a very close family member tonight, but you will be on my mind as I drive home. I know you will be getting so many real hugs from the team who is an extended part of your family, as you all shared many amazing years together watching your young men play. I'm glad they have wrapped their huge hearts and arms around you and will undoubtedly do the same tonight, as they celebrate the amazing season they had and Chris will be right there with you taking it all in.

    As I was just about to finish this I saw a quote: "when life kicks you off, staying down is not a choice". I have been a witness to you mirroring the words in this quote. I've seen the words written to you by many, about your ability to keep going forward. Each day that passes, your words touch my heart and make me want to reach out and let you know you and Chris are being thought of and prayed for. I truly hope you have a sense of comfort and serenity as you attend the banquet and celebrate Chris and his teammates and all their accomplishments as a team.

    God bless...

    1. Nice, Justine...I too read this this morning with the tears flowing freely...sorry about your loss...Peace to you today. XO

  7. Hope you and Mike have a Great night... Go Shen... Omg as I'm going to publish my comment I have to put number 69 in for it to publish... Hey Chris

  8. Dear Gina,
    Enjoy every minute of your evening, you will be with family! I know Christopher will be there supporting you and Mike and his Shen family. Have a wonderful evening! Always In My Thoughts And Prayers, Love You, Eddie

  9. Regina,

    Wishing you and Mike a special evening tonight with your Shen family. I'm sure there will be many tears of joy and sadness as tonight will be bittersweet for every one invovled. I hope you enjoy yourself. I know Chris will be right beside you this evening. I will be thinking about all of you!

    Peace and hugs!

  10. Couldnt help but to get choked up reading this. I hope you have a great night, although bittersweet it appears from your blogs Chris is never far away from what he loved! I believe he will be right by your side as you accept anything he may recieve and while you & the Mr. take the night and entire banquet all in~ Prayers and thoughts are with you all.

  11. So touching!!! There are no words!

    Just that you are amazing! Enjoy the night!!!

    God Bless,


  12. I usually read your blog on my iPhone before I get out of bed, but I overslept this morning. Just reading now and I hope you had a nice time at the banquet. Your post choked me up so much...all I do is picture myself going through the same thing. I hope your heart can feel peace tonight. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  13. I was choked up from the moment I read the title of this blog. I hope tonight was everything you had wished for. I hope you were able to feel, smell and hear from Chris tonight. I can't wait to hear about the banquet.

  14. I hope you had a great night. I know while rewarding how difficult it can be to attend such functions. With this being his senior year there are so many more events yet to come...... While difficult they will be rewarding, this I unfortunately know. You are in my thoughts and prayers.