Monday, May 01, 2006

Bitter Sweet Weekend

I am out of town this week on business so a very short post before I leave. It was a bitter sweet weekend for me. Mostly sweet though.

On Friday evening, my daughter, Maria, and I watched the Vanderbilt baseball team beat UK. The winner of this weekend series would lead the SEC east. We had great seats, 2nd row right behind the plate compliments of Ingram Industries. However, Vandy lost Saturday's and Sunday's games. But they are still in the hunt and have great chance of making the College World Series. They barely missed last year. There were a lot of pro scouts there watching our sophomore pitcher David Price, arguably the best pitcher in college baseball. Two scouts from the Arizona Diamondbacks sat next to us (World Series rings are very, very big). They were very nice and let Maria use the radar gun to track Price's pitches. When she was doing it, he pitched 3 consecutive pitches at 93 mph! They want to sign him this year. I hope he stays. They say Price will get $2-3 million just for signing his name to a contract. This is separate from the actual contract amount which will be very large.

Vanderbilt quarterback and this year's SEC Player of the Year, Jay Culter, was picked 11th in the NFL draft by the Denver Broncos. This is a great place for him. Can you imagine being 23 years old and about to sign a contract for $10s of millions? Jay is a great guy and very down to earth. Many experts thought he was the best quaterback for the pro game in the draft this year.

Saturday night I saw one my guitar heros and one the greatest players in the world, Steve Howe. Unfortunately, his almost entirely acoustic set was at the Exit/In and would have been so much better at TPAC or some comparable venue. The setting did not lend itself to his beautiful style but nonetheless it was an incredible show. Steve Howe is the guitar player for Yes but has issued a large number of solo albums. He can play any style on any stringed instrument.

The most bitter sweet moment this weekend was last night. We had our last college life group. My wife and I have hosted a college life group for Otter Creek in our home for the last 4 years. Anita fixes them a meal each Sunday evening, ~3 times per mo. We grew very close and 6 of our college kids, as Maria calls them, have been with us for all 4 years and are graduating this weekend.

We had a wonderful time together sharing, singing, praying, and reflecting. These students brought the Holy Spirit into our house each week and provided an example for Maria that only God could provide us. I will miss the deep studies we have had that surpassed any adult life group I have ever been in (and I have been in some really good ones). Most of all we will miss them as our family. They leaned on us and we leaned on them. One of the young men has become my closest friend.

As I write to you how much Anita and I love these young men and women of God, I am shedding tears. Please pray for their lives, that God will lead and protect them. They are as spiritually mature as any group I have ever known and my family will always have a small hole without them in it.


jettybetty said...

Now I am crying--I just read Critter's post today--and then yours--I had to stop and get a tissue!

What a fun experience for Maria--she even got to use the radar gun! What a great father-daughter memory!

I think I've told you before I love college kids--some of them are just incredible. I know you will miss them--but God will provide you with some new blessings!

Hope your trip goes well!

Amy said...

What a sweet post. You are such a sweetheart. Bless you and your wife for the ministry you have with these kids. I know DeeDee appreciates you!

Glad you got to go to the game with your daughter. Some of my favorite memories are at Dudy Noble field at State cheering for those Dawgs! And with Rafael Palmeiro, Will Clark and the like there was a lot to cheer about!

Good luck to Vandy this year!

JMG said...

It's amazing how attached I get to some of my students after just a semester, and then especially to those who stay with me for two semesters. I can't imagine having such a deep spiritual relationship lasting several years. Your college kids will remember your kindness and will pass it along to others.

erinlo said...

Tony- You are so so sweet. I also teared up at your post. Oh- to have had a couple care for my spiritual well being while I was in college! How different my college years might have been. Thank you, once again, for your example.

Purgatory Penman said...

It must be very hard for college students to remain spiritual today--more so than at any other time in our history. The temptations and the mockery assaulting them from satan's legions all too often undermine a lifetime of good parental teaching and Christian dedication. When young adults are there for counseling as well as Biblical study guidance, it is much easier to stay on track.

There is not question that God has used you and your family in your mission.

Tony Arnold said...

I am touched by your comments. Thanks everyone. I missed the blogs this week too!