It's quite rare and totally awesome when you realize that you just witnessed a milestone. The milestone began 17 1/2 years ago when our first grandchild was born - a boy. The 18 1/2 months later a second grandchild was born - a brother or "bubba" as he is affectionately called. Watching these two grow, watching them play, and watching them make it all the way together to the state final four soccer championship has been a treat.
The culmination this weekend was an experience that will always stay with us. These brothers rode up together with other teammates driven in their mother's Suburban, and were roommates in the motel room with a dear teammate friend. Grandparents, parents, coaches and friends collected in the lobby anticipating the first game. Later, more family and friends gathered and greeted each other, supportive in the stands. The boys practiced their footwork and kicks in the field before the game, while friends and family idealistically prayed for the boys' safety, and of course, a win.
The speed, footwork, setting of the ball and passing were incredible. The team played with heart; the defense and quick goalie had smart saves frustrating the eventual state champions. The next day these boys tied for third place.
Who would have dreamed that a 6-year-old program that almost never began could be playing for a state championship so soon? We watched a team of boys who had played other sports together for 10 years culminate into this cohesive, caring, tough group of men.
You are first in our hearts and minds. Our last hugs before saying good bye and driving home with Dad and your teammates was humbly said, "Thank you Grandma and Grandpa for coming to our games." That was the milestone we will never forget.
For all the grandparents, parents, caring coaches and friends, thank you boys for the best experience of our lives-so far. On to the next.
Your loving grandparents,
Pat and Hugh Neilson
St. Louis, Missouri