Yesterday, I got to go back to Campbell for a soccer game and see my boys that are still there. I was counting down to this day, praying that Mom would be well enough to take me. I so desperately needed something to work out in my favor. I honestly wasn't certain it would happen until she actually got out of bed to get ready; it's been a really rough week for her, but she said she toughed it out because she knew how important it was to me.
Being back at that soccer field...it feels like home. Even though I felt so old being surrounded by college students (when did that happen?), it still felt so right to be sitting there watching a team that I have followed for five seasons now.
It was all the more perfect because it was this guy's senior night.
Matt was a true freshman my senior year, but he redshirted that year, so that's how he's still at CU. I was so proud of him to get to see him celebrated after all the work he's put in.
I was also there to see these two adorable boys.
I met them back in January of 2016 when I was visiting Campbell while on break from New York. They had heard about me through Ricky and quickly became my "second generation" of brothers. It's crazy to think that they were freshmen when I met them, and now they're juniors.
And because God was apparently in a really generous mood yesterday, one of my other brothers who graduated last year, Martinez, was actually at the game to see Matt for his senior night, too. Of course I had to get a picture with him. He knew it was coming. ;)
While I was taking the picture with Matt and Josh, another guy from the team I actually really wanted to meet walked by, so I got everything I wanted out of last night. His name is JJ, and I've basically become his biggest fan. He's a ridiculously talented player, and I really wanted to meet him to just tell him what an incredible player I think he is. He was such a sweetheart, too. I think I made him a little bashful with all the compliments, but hey, I was a little excited. He even reached down and gave me a big hug to say thank you, which I was pleasantly surprised by. Despite the jokes the rest of my brothers like to crack, I never make strangers hug me. Even I'm not that weird. ;) But he and I got to talking on Facebook today, and he told me that Matt, Josh, and Seth had told him some about me, so I semi-jokingly said I was more than willing to adopt him as my brother, too, and he said "I'm in!" so I think this is the start of a beautiful friendship. :)
I was on such an emotional high when we got home last night around 12:30 that it took me a sweet forever to fall asleep. This is what my boys do to me. It's not so much being back at Campbell as it is being with them. Which is weird, really, since Matt is the only one (Martinez, too, but I'm talking about of the guys still on the team) who was there at Campbell when I was there and witnessed what I went through, and by the end of next weekend at the latest, the only guys I will know on this team will be guys I met after graduated and through association from other guys. But as I was telling JJ today, the guys from my year pretty much saved my life (there's an understatement), so I see it as me just passing on the love, and it's created this bond that can't really be explained to anyone who isn't part of it. They're my boys, my brothers, my family. Just as much as anyone who shares my DNA is. When I'm with them, everything feels okay for a change. It's like I can forget everything that is going wrong, everything that is stressing me out, everything that is negative because the love that I feel both for and from them is completely overwhelming in the best possible way. It's not lost on me for a second how lucky I am.
To love and be loved like this, well, it's everything.