Clover thought it was our second Stanford football game in one weekend, but I pointed out that even though Thanksgiving made it feel like one giant weekend, in reality, a whole week had gone by between games. She was as excited as ever to be there, the most die-hard, pint-sized fan that I know. Once she got out of the car, I told Clover that now the No. 1 fan was there, but within seconds, we saw a middle aged man with a bald head painted to look just like a Stanford helmet, complete with achievement stickers. Clover was suddenly demoted to No. 2 fan.
I'm grateful that Clover's a gamer. She's up for any sporting event and she refuses to leave early, even when it's pouring rain, like during the Cal game last week. I'm thankful for my sister, whose job makes our sweet football passes possible. Mostly, while watching the game, I was thankful for Andrew Luck. Not only is he an extremely good QB, but in a world where athletes are more likely to be in the news for horrible behavior than they are for on the field performance, it is so nice to have a smart, hardworking, nice guy to hold up as an inspiration for kids.
Because it was the last home game of the season, the seniors were announced individually as they ran onto the field. After the second player, Clover grumbled, "They're coming out one at a time? This is going to take forever!" She felt better when I said that it was only the seniors getting the special treatment, but I added that they deserved the applause. These kids are not only working hard as part of a nationally ranked team, but they are at Stanford, which requires them to keep up academically. It's not LSU for many reasons.
The last half of the game felt a little melancholy, which is a surprise because the season is not over: a bowl game - hopefully a good one - is ahead. But it was sad because Andrew Luck is moving on. At the end of the fourth quarter, I told Clover to remember this, as it's likely the last time we'll see Andrew Luck play in person.
Knowing it was his last home game, we made sure to get to the game early to watch the last football team walk of the year. (It turns out we nabbed spots next to the mothers of two football players. There are few things sweeter than watching big football players hug their mamas.)
Thank you, Andrew Luck, for giving us many reasons to cheer.