I seem to be finding myself in the right place at the right time. Actually, it happens often in my life. I always felt that I was a pretty lucky person, when things happen because I am in the right place at the right time. But most recently, I have had two such episodes of being in the right place at the right time.
It’s not just about being in the right place at the right time, but knowing what to do when I have found myself there. Some may say that proximity has a lot to do with this. I have always said that “You can’t hit the ball if you don’t swing the bat,” that kind of thing. Being close to an opportunity and having the timing just right makes it all happen.
Let me share with you.
We were so excited to hear that the ISU football team was going to play in the Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tenn. We had decided that we would follow the team, and to be able to head south from Iowa to a warmer climate was the frosting on the cake. Until we heard that it was going to be really cold in Memphis on game day.
What those in Memphis and those of us that live in the cold consider cold is two different things. But still, we were hearing 15 degrees at kickoff at 11:30 a.m., put me in my car and driving to Jax in West Ames to purchase battery-operated warming socks to keep my toes warm during the game.
Mission accomplished. I purchased the last ones they had. Cross that off my list.
I had made a small shopping list and decided to stop at the west HyVee and pick up what we needed. I always shop at the east location because it is closer to where we live. I had written my list on the back of a paper that had the photo of our Charlie with Coach Campbell on it.
I am standing with the list in my left hand and looking over the pizza and someone asks me if I know Coach Campbell. I looked up and it was Coach Prohm, ISU’s head men’s basketball coach. I told him yes, that Coach Campbell helps us with fundraising for our granddaughter, Charlie.
He breaks into this huge smile and says, “You are Charlie’s grandma,” to which I answer ‘Yes.’ We visit for a while about basketball and football and one thing led to another and he is telling me to send him an email and that he wants to help us too and that he can’t wait to tell “Matt” that he had met me. I told him to tell Coach Campbell that he had met Charlie’s crazy grandma. Since then we have exchanged emails and he is totally on board as he says, “doing what Coach Matt does to help and to be sure to let him know what he can do.”
Wow! Being in the right place at the right time. I can count on one hand how many times I have shopped at the west HyVee in the past 21 years.
Moving on. We get to Memphis the day before the big game. Being the old people that Reed and I are, we decided that maybe we should find the Liberty Bowl Stadium. We ask directions from the front desk manager at the Marriott where we were staying and she gives us a short cut. We follow her directions and we are at the stadium in 15 minutes.
Piece of cake.
We drive into the parking area of the stadium and I see the Cyclone equipment truck, so I told Reed to stop the car — I wanted to jump out and take some photos of the Decker truck with the stadium behind it.
Another piece of cake.
Then I see a security car parked with two security officers sitting in it, just keeping an eye on things. So, being me, or swinging the bat at the ball coming at me, I approach their vehicle and ask them how parking will be before the game. They reassured me that it would not be a problem, to just show up the next morning.
Okay, I am ready to hit that ball.
So, I tell them how nice and welcoming the people of Memphis have been to us and how excited we are to be bringing 30,000 fans to the area and they were equally pleased to have us there. I am telling them that I am a photographer and that our coach was a friend of ours.
Here is where the home run happens.
One of them tells me to move our car inside the stadium area, get out and get down on the field and take pictures.
Yes, get out on that field and take some photos.
So, that is what we did. We walked in like we belonged there, checked it out, it was amazing. Reed found our seats for the game and turned around and found me right down on the field, on the 50-yard line. Had I died and gone to Heaven? How can this be happening? I went to the end zone where the Iowa State was painted on the turf, stood under the uprights and reached my hands to heaven, demonstrating my own official “Touchdown.”
Lots of ISU fans is an understatement. We were as well or maybe better represented than the Memphis fans. The game was exciting, along with some tense moments as well. But the outcome was wonderful, we won 21-20. Allen Lazard danced around his helmet on the field. Joel Lanning was up in the stands hugging his mom and we all sang “Sweet Caroline.” The team broke the stage when they all jumped up on it to receive the Liberty Bell, which they rang while singing the “Iowa State Fight Song” in the locker room. Coach Matt conducted his post-game interview with his young son on his lap. What a perfect ending to a fantastic season.
My favorite (one of my favorites) interview I heard was when a reporter asked Allen Lazard if his family was going to be at the game and he replied, “Yes they are and so is Cyclone Nation; they are my family, too.”
We are going to miss those seniors, Allen, who can catch a ball one-handed; Joel (our linebacker/quarterback/special teams) who can throw a ball better than most opposing quarterbacks and mostly, J.D. Waggoner and his high left leg kick. I hope that they all will be in the right place at the right time in their lives, too.
And I am happy to report that the battery-heated socks worked great. Not a cold toe on either foot.
Lynn Marr-Moore is a contributing writer for the Tri-County Times and Nevada Journal.