Sometimes Darren & I get to sneak away for a lunch date. Most of the time we grab a pop and peanut (aka cowboys’ lunch) and just drive around town. We love driving down main and all around our sweet community, pointing out new construction, new builds, dreamin’ and schemin’, laughing and talking about the day, commenting about the weather, taking note of the changing season...Darren might throw in a “Laffy Taffy” joke...nothing really but just taking a break. Almost always, we will somehow wind up at the football field, parked under the grand old walnut tree which always takes us on the fast track to memory lane where we will spend a little time reminiscing.
We love football! Excitement is welling up in anticipation for the first season opener this year. The whole family has already picked their teams for this year’s fantasy football. How many of you start a countdown to the first game of the season beginning in early spring? Well these Yarbrough boys do! It’s just what they do! Darren & I will reminisce about how much fun it was raising three boys in this sweet town and watching them play football on this field. I almost always bring up how he would leave the shop for a while to watch them during early morning practices and how much it meant to the boys. We swap stories of what our favorites of the day are, like the year that all three of the boys were playing. Will was a senior, Kolby a sophomore, and Tucker was in seventh grade. We still talk about what a fun and magical year that was. We were at the field almost every night of the week. It was such a golden time for us.
We almost always have a laugh about the year Darren was inspired to build a noise maker out of a freon tank and some bolts. He was convinced that it made a difference...lol! We painted them maroon and decorated them with the boys’ football numbers, not to mention with all the lion paraphernalia.
We might reminisce about all the football feeds we helped with. For a few years every Thursday evening, Darren and some other dads would take the old grill down to the field and cook hamburgers…he loved feeding those boys and the coaches.
We love all of the tradition that has been passed down and enjoyed since even before he played football and worked out, hung out on this field and in this fieldhouse. One of my favorites was when the touchdown club purchased a giant, inflatable football helmet and Darren came up with the great idea to create more affect by putting a smoke machine in the helmet. When that didn’t seem impressive enough, he decided to rely on some good ol’ Y&S ingenuity and use smoke bombs in a five-gallon bucket -don’t ask me why they use this in the heat and air industry…they just do. Every week he kept adding more for the desired effect until one week it was TOO much and literally smoked the players out coughing and sputtering. Needless to say, after a little talk with Coach Craig, he backed it off the following week. LOL!
Of course, we talk about all the playoff games the boys had and how hard it was when it was their last game. I will never forget the last moments of Will’s senior year. I so vividly remember looking at the scoreboard, seeing that we only had seconds left…not enough time to score. It literally was the first moment that I realized that I was seeing him play for the last time…brings tears just thinking about it. For some reason I scanned the crowd, trying to take it all in and my eyes met with my brother-in-law Rick. I will never forget him with eyes glistening, giving me a “it will be ok wink,” - these Yarbrough boys are good at that – and a tear rolling down his cheek…because he knew… Kolby and Tuckers last games followed a very similar pattern.
I will never forget how much fun Tuck’s junior year was…the year they took state! It was such an amazing and fun year to be part of. I will never forget after the state game, a young man that all the boys were close with, asked Will and Kole if they were jealous that Tuck got to be part of the State Champ team. Will and Kole said “no” with a glint of surprise in their laugh. The boys were always at each other’s games, cheering each other on…encouraging…supporting…giving words of advice… Whether on the field, in the classroom, at home, or even now here at Y&S…these boys love and support each other…work so well together… They had the perfect living example just watching their dad and uncle Rick. I know I am prejudice, but these Yarbrough boys are something special! They know how to work and play hard together as a team! I can’t remember if it was Will or Kole that expressed to this young man how incredibly proud they were of and for Tucker, and that they embraced the championship like it was there own because their brother got to be a part of it…Yep…proud momma moment for sure!
This story shows up in my FB feed almost every year as a memory…don’t you just love that feature. Of all the football stories I could share, I think this is my favorite…today…LOL! I’m just going to share the post I made back in 2012: “OK, I know this is so last Thursday, but it has come to my attention that most people do not know the true "coolness" of Tuck's TD last week or why he and his uncle Rick are having so much fun. Here is the coolest part of the story. Every Friday morning for the past nine plus years the Church of Christ, which Rick and Terri are a part of, host a football breakfast and devo for our boys. Rick gave a devo a couple of weeks ago and somehow mentioned that he had added up all the years a Yarbrough had played Blanchard football - 31 years - and in all those years a Yarbrough had never scored a touchdown. The torch was in his hand, so to speak, and since he is a Jr, time was ticking, but no pressure. (Mind you, this is the abbreviated, second hand version. Ha!!) Perhaps all of you do not know that Tuck plays center and nose guard. Although he touches the ball every play on offence, he has little to no chance of ever running with the ball. We have watched the footage countless times this weekend, told and retold the story, and have had so much fun, but we would be amiss if we did not give glory where it is due. We have concluded that it was a gift, a gift from God and Tucker ran with it. You might scoff but we know our God is big enough to do and care even for the most insignificant things. "For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen." Romans 11:36”
So, as you can glean from my post, Tuck was on kick return and a ball was muffed. It came right to him on about the 40-yard line and he, the big ol’ lineman that he was, ran it in for a 51-yard touchdown. I will never forget the crowd erupting, Darren tugging at me because I was sitting down trying to share a pic with my cousin and not paying attention. I will never forget Coach Craig looking back at us even while Tuck was still running, perhaps to make sure we were seeing what he was seeing. I’ll never forget him yelling something to Rick and Rick yelling something back, both wearing the biggest grins. I’ll never forget seeing Parker, one of Tuck’s very best friends, running, leaping, going nuts on the field even before the touchdown was made and then running onto the field – I don’t think that’s legal – and being one of the first in the dog pile. I will never forget gathering on the field after the game – something they always do – and recounting, reliving, retelling.
I think what makes this little story so sweet is that it was more than Tucker and his touchdown or Rick and his uncanny devo. It’s about family, friendship, and fellowship. It’s about community, planting a little seed and watching it grow to fruition. It’s about drawing outside the lines and daring to believe in impossible dreams. For me, it encapsulates the best of Fall, Friday night football, friends and family.
Go Blanchard Lions! Have an amazing season!
In loving memory of Rick Yarbrough
The video proof! HA
I am a simple and ordinary girl who loves to share meaningful stories about the extraordinary people and blessings, the sweet everyday happenings that make me smile. I hope you all have a beautiful day!