Loyalty: Be True To Your School

 Dogs are loyal.

Parents can be loyal, to a fault.

Fans are loyal, until the team starts to lose.

Employees are loyal, but not as much as they used to be.

A friend is loyal, especially when defending your honor.

A spouse should be loyal, showing faithfulness to their vows.

Loyalty was discussed all of the time in my house growing up although I did not think of it until I was an adult.  I was raised knowing that loyalty was one of the utmost characteristics which would secure a relationship no matter if the relationship was personal or business.  My father used to always talk about people who “always” bought their car from him, or in the negative, “never” bought their car from him.  The worst insult you could levy on my father was to shop his store then buy from a competitor. 

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Today my son is coming home to compete in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Swimming and Diving Championships at Erie County Community College’s natatorium.  This is a dream come true for him… junior at Fairfield University swimming NCAA Division I at a pool where he competed in high school.  Many of his family and friends who have never had the opportunity to see him swim in college can stop by this week and experience a little of the excitement that championships bring.

So what of loyalty?  My alma mater and employer, Canisius College is hosting this championship!  Although I will be decked out in Fairfield red and will act as a host for the parents, I will be wearing my Golden Griffin pin and Canisius Athletics jacket.

As those great philosophers, the Beach Boys once sang:

So be true to your school now
Just like you would to your girl or guy
Be true to your school now
And let your colors fly
Be true to your school”

GO STAGS! Fairfield University

GO GRIFFS! Canisius College

Life is good!

Jude

Twitter: MidMajorMom

Twitter: JudeCaserta

AthleticBudgetCoach.com

15 Hour Drive for 2 Minutes and 10 Seconds

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It’s true. We are THOSE parents and darn proud of it!

I have always been fascinated by the parents of student athletes and now that I am one of them I understand so much more. Many of the coaches I work with tell me about the wonderful things their parents do for the program and believe me, most of them are not sexy…just a great way for them to save money and to save time.

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending a Canisius College Women’s Soccer game on the campus of Fairfield University. We arrived on campus Friday evening to attend his swim meet at the University of Connecticut the next day. This was the first time a Canisius event occurred on campus while I was there for a swim meet since my son started there in 2008.

Decked out in my Canisius College Athletics jacket, I found the visitors section by listening for the cheers from their hale hearty fans. I would venture a guess that the entirety of the visitors section had some sort of DNA match with someone on the field.

I introduced myself as a member of the Canisius athletic staff and enjoyed meeting nice folks who share the student athlete parent bond. We talked about the competition in the conference and the frequency of the games. We compared notes on distance traveled and they commended me for traveling so far each week for our son’s meets.

My favorite conversation was with a mom who wanted to let me know how much easier it was to be the parent of a swimmer rather than one of an outdoor sport. She supposed it was much easier to sit in a natatorium than to battle the elements. She thought it more comfortable to be indoors and while she is mostly correct she does not understand how oppressive the heat can be in a pool. When you are cold you can add layers but when you are in the pool and sweating from the high heat and humidity you cannot take off your skin.

My answer was simple. I gave her the weather issue and agreed we have it easier to be indoors. But I left her with a thought. If their child was a starter or even a top layer substitute they watched them play for 1-1 ½ hours in a game that lasts about 2 hours total start to finish. But with swimming you could attend a meet which lasts 3-4 hours (including diving but that’s another blog) and your child could potentially compete less than a minute if they are a sprinter. Whoosh, they are done!

If this seems like complaining, I’m not. Actually I’m honored to be able to attend so many meets and grateful for the time and means to do it.

This week it will be at least 20 hours…but he may swim a longer event so maybe it will be 4 ½ minutes!

Life is good!

Jude

Twitter: @JudeTheFoodie

Facebook: Jude TheFoodie

JudeTheFoodie.com

How Do You Spell Spirit and Loyalty?

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B.O.N.F.I.R.E!

When I was 13 years old my brother started his four wonderful years at the University of Notre Dame.  I attended my first college game in the fall of 1971 and I believe it was against Navy…don’t hold me to that one, though.  Anyway, we were there for the bonfire and pep rally.  The game was almost an anti-climax but who cared?  I was sold.  I wanted to go to Notre Dame.  Period.  No talking, just action.  In 1972, just one year later, Father Theodore Hesburgh decided to admit women as Notre Dame Undergraduates.  Score!  So, study I did getting higher SAT’s than my brother and having a higher class rank.  I applied.  I was rejected.  A boy from my high school class with lower grades and test scores got a full scholarship to play what else?  Football.  And I was rejected.  I had no plan B but needed one fast.

I applied to Canisius College.  I got in.  In the fall of 1976 I entered as a freshman, waiting for the pep rallies.  There were none.  I waited to learn the fight song.  There was none.  No marching band, no football stadium, no identity, no spirit, no loyalty…at least that’s how my wounded 18 year old heartfelt.

How did I end up here?  It was so unfair – lucky freshmen flocked to the South Bend and I was in Buffalo.  Buffalo?  Are you kidding me?  Really?

Well, I was just dumb.  Seriously dumb.  What I found at Canisius was an intimate learning environment where professors knew me by name and guided me through the maze of opportunity.  I became involved in student government and sat on several search committees.  I did television shows promoting Canisius College with Rev. Ryan, S. J. and met my husband of nearly 30 years. 

I even found school spirit with our horrible basketball team just off NCAA probation for violations surrounding NBA trouble maker, Larry Fogel.  I loved my four years at Canisius and I made friendships that have lasted to this day.  Add to it my 21 years of work service to my alma mater and you have nearly half my life lived as a devoted Golden Griffin.

Tonight marks the second annual bonfire and C-Block Rally in the Quad.  Better yet, the unveiling of the newly arranged fight song.  A real live fight song!  I only had to wait 34 years!

Go Griffs!!!!  Beat Niagara!!!!

Life is good!

Jude

Twitter: MidMajorMom

Twitter: JudeCaserta

AthleticBudgetCoach.com

I’m a Swim Mom!

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I’ve had many titles in my life…many jobs that I’ve done and some I even let define me (shame on me!). I’ve also been called a lot of things in my life (to my face…likely a bunch of unflattering ones behind my back), sweetie by my parents, Jude by my siblings and friends, hun by my husband of over 29 years. I have been called the hammer, the receipt Nazi, the queen of forms by my colleagues but nothing makes me happier than to be called Ma!

Today I pack up the car once again and set off this time to Baltimore for the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships. The MAAC had to postpone the meet a week while the city dug out from under two snow storms. My husband and I calculated that just this season alone we have logged over 5,000 miles on his SUV and the MAAC’s will put us well over 6,000 miles.

Just a few short years ago I would have wondered about a family that did such a thing. I have worked in college athletics as long as my son has been alive…going on 20 years ago but nothing could have prepared me to be the parent of an NCAA Division I student athlete. I have met many proud parents throughout my career at Canisius College. Most of them have been wonderful, devoted folks whose sacrifice began well before their child stepped onto the playing field (or in our case swimming pool). These are people who gave not only their time but in many cases (hockey parents are a classic example of this) their treasure. Equipment, facility rental, lessons, coaches, tournament fees…it goes on and on…these things cost a lot of money. Swimming is awesome…goggles and a Speedo and off you go!

So, as my Fairfield University sophomore son steps onto the pool deck tomorrow and I once again burst with pride, I would like to congratulate the parents who made this all possible.

Jude Russo Caserta

Twitter: @JudeTheFoodie