This Saturday, a third generation of Crowley men will suit up for the St. Ignatius (SI) Varsity Football Team of San Francisco and do battle in their season opener against Marin Catholic. Expectations are running high.
After SI went 2-7-1 last season, my husband, F.X., a passionate SI football alumnus, proud papa and uncle, believes the team has the potential to win every game. My goals are more modest. I want the boys to be safe.
Last year’s football season gave me pause. My son, Kerry, began the season with a badly sprained ankle that he sustained in pre-season practice. He recovered and played and ended the season with 13 carries and a concussion against a formidable St. Francis team.
My husband calls Kerry “the little engine that could.” His 5’ 7”, 175-pound frame has been finely honed and strengthened through a rigorous regimen of practices and weight lifting. Kerry’s cousin, Chris, is 6’2″ and the center on SI’s offensive line. We are counting on him to block for Kerry and protect him from all evil tacklers.
As excited as we are for the season to begin, we also feel the absence of Chris’ father and F.X.’s brother, John. A little over three years ago, John succumbed to pancreatic cancer, leaving his lovely wife and two young sons, Chris and his brother Jimmy. John’s extended family and hundreds of friends and colleagues filled St. Ignatius Church on Fulton Street to mourn his passing.
John played football at SI, too. He also sailed the world as a merchant marine and cooked enthusiastically, studying recipes and sharing tips he gleaned from PBS cooking shows. He hosted Christmas dinner, serving up generous portions of prime rib and manicotti made from scratch. He loved to laugh and tell a good story. He was well-read and smart, but the smartest thing he ever did was marry his wife Charlene. She anchored John, and together they raised and adored their two boys.
I like to think that John is watching over Chris and Kerry and Jimmy, who plays SI Junior Varsity football. We welcome support from heaven where John surely is residing. We miss you John. Go Wildcats!