* * *
Four weddings in five months.
Lots of fun. A lack of sobriety. Admittedly, quite a few tears.
Some depressing times and some uplifting ones. Old friends and
unfamiliar faces. A multitude of memories and a vast spectrum of
And as of Sunday morning, just shy of 4 in the a.m., my whirlwind
of matrimonial bliss and wedding wildness had concluded.
At 26, I've seen my share of weddings, but four in one year is a
bit excessive. Fact is, it's a bit mind-altering.
On Saturday night, my coming of age journey came to its conclusion
-- at least this particular one, anyhow.
There I was, a groomsman for my high school quarterback -- sure
he's been one of my closest friends since third grade, but he'll
always be my quarterback. And on days such as these, you find
everyone tells everyone they love you, everyone's quick with the
kisses and hugs and it gets as corny and hokey as this column -- so
my thoughts wandered.
Fact is -- although I'm unsure if I've ever told him -- the
groom's the reason I started playing football all those years ago. If
it wasn't for him, it's likely I wouldn't have fallen in love with
football (see, I told you it'd get corny)and wouldn't have found
myself writing so passionately about it upon these pages.
On this night, so many years removed from our high school days and
little league memories, there was more than just an All-Foothill
League quarterback at the alter.
His beautiful bride was an All-CIF outside hitter. Her two maids
of honor had played along side her on the volleyball court, as well.
Standing before and behind me -- saturated by the 90-plus-degree
heat that had been reserved for so many hell weeks so many summers
ago -- was another teammate and another teammate, with a tuxedo
replacing a jersey.
The former Glendale Community College and College of the Canyons
gridiron standouts were abundant. A scholarship here, a scholarship
He was a JUCO All-American, he was a stud defensive end in high
school, he was an All-CIF linebacker ... high school or college
football, baseball or basketball.
Somehow, the world of sports seemed to connect almost everyone of
us to Chris -- the quarterback, the groom, my friend.