On June 11, 1997, my oldest OS got the best surprise in the world.
A personalized letter from his hero, Coach Bobby Bowden!
Without telling anyone beforehand, my sister contacted the coach and told him Nate was a huge FSU fan. In the midst of many other tasks, somehow Coach Bowden found the time to write my boy!
Coach Bowden must be a very thoughtful man. He didn’t know that as a baby, Nate had been indoctrinated to supporting FSU through his aunt and his loyalty has never changed. He faithfully watched all the games in full FSU fan regalia and now, as time permits, he still tracks the team and cheers them onto victory.
Not only did Nate learn the chopping tomahawk motion, he taught it to his little brothers. When Aunt Neese would come over, they’d sport football eye patches and make it a big deal. I don’t understand football one lick so she took charge of this important responsibility. They have a forever connection because of football, I love that.
We didn’t know 16 years later, one of Florida State’s biggest fans would be at Ranger School. I was paging through a family scrapbook and stumbled upon it. When I saw the date, I knew I had to write a post.
Letters are important. Have you ever heard from a famous person? That can be so cool!
Here’s what I’m learning as a military parent.
- A letter to an average Soldier doing the daily grind is not taken for granted.
- A letter to a cadet candidate trying to get through Beast in order to become a lowly plebe is a way to help him/her feel like a real person with a first name.
- A letter to an exhausted, starving and weary Ranger School student can provide the emotional fuel to push through to get that much esteemed Ranger patch.
Coach Bowden won’t ever realize how that letter to a seven-year-old still makes that now 23-year-old guy smile.
The same pertains to regular, everyday folks – don’t underestimate what a real letter FROM YOU can mean to a person.
Nate is in the swamps phase of Ranger School, letters lift him out of the muck and goo, he’s got about two more weeks to go, Lord willing he will have that treasured Ranger tab.
Thank you Coach Bowden for setting the bar high! Thank you Aunt Neese for the sweetest memory! And thank you to each of you who have written my boy during his military career. If you want Nate’s current address, leave me a message and I’ll be happy to provide it.