Purple Rain

On the field during the Pregame Show
On the field during the Pregame Show

All great teachers have the ability to plan effectively. We know the objective for the lesson and map out the strategies for helping our students learn that objective. From fire drills to a student getting ill in class, there are many things that may occur that may interfere with the plan for the lesson. One of my greatest strengths is the ability to adapt my lessons to the changes that may occur.

For September 5, 2015, the plan was for me to be recognized on the field for the Louisiana State University versus McNeese State football game. The day began at the LSU Football Indoor Practice Facility where I watched the Golden Band from Tigerland practice with my family. As a former member of the drumline, I was filled with pride as I observed the diligence and dedication of the band members. Next, my family and I headed over to the “Ultimate Tiger Tailgate” where we met Joni Lacy, my coordinator with the Louisiana State Department of Education. There we dined on delicious food and watched the cheerleaders perform. Later, we were treated to an exhilarating performance by the Tiger Band in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

My anticipation was growing as we proceeded to meet with Ben Heroman, the Chairman of the Dream Teachers organization, and his family. Our liaison with the LSU Athletic Department, Cody, led our eager group through the media entrance and out onto the field. It has been fifteen years since I stood on the field of Tiger Stadium. As the Tiger Band took the field for their pregame show, I was extremely grateful to be able to once again hear the roar of the crowd from the field. There is nothing else like it in the world. My eyes brimmed with tears as I proudly sang the words of our Alma Mater, and I thought of all that I had learned “where stately oaks and broad magnolias shade inspiring halls”.

Following the pregame show, we moved to stand closer to the twenty-five yard line where I was to be introduced at the second timeout of the game. During the first timeout, Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu were honored. As I debated asking the two to take a selfie with me, Cody informed us that we had to leave the field because lightning had been spotted. My thought as we left the field was, “Lightning? What lightning?”

As we waited in the tunnel, it wasn’t long before the weather conditions worsened. As we watched the merry fans dancing in the rain, we had a picnic on the floor of the tunnel. We shared stories and laughter as we held onto the hope that the game would commence.

Although the evening didn’t go as planned, it served as a great reminder that there will be storms in life. It’s how we face the storms that truly matters. Thank you to Cody, Joni, the Heroman family, and my family for adapting to the storm to create an evening filled with camaraderie and adventure. Even though the game was eventually cancelled, I will be forever grateful that I was in Death Valley the night it rained purple and the sky was filled with flashes of gold.

As for the recognition, I will now be recognized on the field during the LSU versus Arkansas game on November 14, 2015. Thank you to LSU for giving me another opportunity!

With Director Roy King at the Golden Band from Tigerland practice!
With Director Roy King at the Golden Band from Tigerland practice!