A Surprise for My Celtic Cheerleader

     My goal as father and husband is to build a beautiful family culture in my home.  I like to keep things interesting and surprising, to keep love-in-action as an regular occurrence for my kids and my wife.  So for this latest surprise, my son and I had a weekend home, while mommy and sissy traveled away for a cheering competition. My daughter's Celtics team brought home 1st place in 2 categories, so we made a little banner to welcome them home and celebrate their accomplishment.

18 Years Ago...

      It was March 13, 1996 and time again for the West Virginia State High School Boys Basketball Tournament. I was a freshman at what was then, Pikeville College (now University of Pikeville) in Southeastern Kentucky. Feeling like the big man on campus, you know... high school campus, I ventured to Charleston for a weekend of fun, basketball, and chasing high school cheerleaders. Having no specific prospects in mind, I considered the typical menu, Tolsia High cheerleaders or those from the more local Burch High. As that first night neared and my friends and I established our first strategic plan, we ventured downtown where the Bulldog Cheerleaders from Burch High were staying. I felt confident, as I should, I had an inside connection in the person of my aunt, the cheer coach! Upon entering the hotel, there before me was my first target, the younger but growing more and more HOT, Carrie Preece! When I saw her in the lobby, I was taken by how good she looked, and I braced for what the weekend might hold for me. As my friends and I became informed as to what floor the Burch cheerleaders were staying, we put our "game-face" on and up the elevator we went.  I played it safe for hours and just mingled and talked to lots of familiar people, shared some laughs and surveyed the females. As the night was nearing a close, I just might have played it too safe and failed to take enough risk. All of a sudden, the tide turned and I found myself in a very interesting and vulnerable situation. I walked out of a hotel room and into the hallway seeking a vending machine. Carrie, standing in the hallway as I passed by, shot me with an elastic hair bow. I caught it and proceeded to my destination, she followed! Noticing that she was in pursuit, I simply ducked behind  a corner to hide from her.  When she found me, I dangled the hair bow as bait, she took it.  As she reached for the bait in my right hand, I placed my left arm around her waist and pulled her close (still don't really know why I had the nerve to do that!). Suddenly, standing face-to-face with this young woman, who would become my wife, I became smitten!  I peered into her eyes and she into mine, everything faded into the background, and a connection was born!  As curfew became an obvious enemy to whatever was happening to me, I used my inside source, Coach Alice to get more much-desired time to talk to Carrie and further explore the developing connection.  We met in the Coach's room and engaged in conversation for maybe an hour before the inevitable occurred.... lights out.  Coach Alice ran us out of her room, and it was time for me to bid good-night.  However, I was not willing to go away without making a lasting impression, so there in the hotel hallway, just the two of us, I pulled her close once more and .... we kissed!  Needless to say, I have never forgotten that Wednesday night 18 years ago!