Jake Schmidt (17) talked things over with a teammate during the Bemidji State vs. SMSU Mustang game Saturday night.
FROM MY FRONT WINDOW
By Byron Higgin, Mascot Publisher
He was speaking to young college students at SMSU last week as part of Fellowship of Christian Athletes and in the process he talked about how we should give “gifts” to other people.
Instead of expecting to receive, we should give “gifts.”
Meidt, a former Minneota student and quarterback and also former NFL coach is an excellent speaker.
I’m in awe of a man who can leave his chosen profession and fall into another area and understand maybe God has called him into something else.
But it was the part about the “gifts” that kept ringing in my ear.
As luck would have it, I noticed the Southwest Minnesota State Mustangs were playing a home game with Bemidji State on Saturday night.
I’ve been wanting to get into the swing of going to SMSU sporting events more often.
But what rang out at me was the fact they were playing Bemidji State.
“Hey, my friend Jake plays for Bemidji State,” I thought.
What an awesome opportunity for me to see Jake play.
I decided to go.
Jake’s mother used to work for me in Grantsburg, WI and the family, and especially Jake and I, had become close friends.
My appreciation of Jake was born not because he’s a very good athlete. It was the way he carried himself, how he helped kids younger than himself and how he played every game, whatever sport, as if it was the most important thing in the world to him — just like Chris Meidt said two days earlier.
I remember one day when playing for Frederic, WI, (I covered Frederic) Jake had just come back from an injury. His first at bat he hit a home run. As he touched home, he saw me, pointed at me, smiled and mouthed, “That was for you.”
We had a special bond and it was a moment I’ll never forget.
Jake went off to college and during his freshman year at football practice he got bit by a spider. He nearly died but a football trainer caught it in time and got Jake into the hospital.
He recovered, but not without earning a new nickname on the team. “Spiderman”, or “Spidy” for short was the new name.
“Most people don’t even know my real name, they just call me Spidy,” laughed Jake at the time.
Well, there he was on the sidelines and I couldn’t help myself, so I took my camera and joined the people shooting the game.
It didn’t take long and Jake noticed me. He looked very surprise but came right over and shook my hand before going back to the action.
At that moment I was really glad I came.
Jake is a defensive back and he plays in extra back situations and on special teams. He had one particularly nice tackle on a punt.
When it was over and Bemidji had won, 30-14, Jake was a happy man. He joined his team, then came over to talk to me.
We had a great time reliving old times. When we were about finished, he looked at me and said, “I was so surprised to see you here. That really means a lot to me,” and I could see a tear in his eye.
I told him it meant a lot to me to be able to see him play.
Now back to Chris Meidt. It was at that very moment, as I was walking away, that I realized I’d just given Jake “a gift”, just the way Chris said we should.
I could have stayed home and missed seeing him play, I’d have missed hearing him say it mean’t something to him and I’d have missed the lump in my throat as I walked away.
Thank You, Chris Meidt, for telling me about giving gifts. They aren’t expensive, but they do come with their own reward.
From now on I’m going to make a special effort to give “gifts” to everyone I can.
And when I do, I’ll think about Chris Meidt. And, of course, Jake.
Thanks to both of you — for the special moment I had thanks to a couple of very special football guys.
LAUGH A LITTLE: A Fisherman’s Tale
Two fellas are fishing in a boat under a bridge.
One looks up and sees a funeral procession starting across the bridge.
He stands up, takes off his cap, and bows his head.
The procession crosses the bridge and the man puts on his cap, picks up his rod and reel, and continues fishing.
The other guy says, “That was touching. I didn’t know you had it in you.”
The first guy responds, “Well, I guess it was the thing to do - after all, I was married to her for 40 years.” — from jokes.com
THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK: As my Ole Pappy used to say, “Live a little, love a lot.”
Pappy was not short on the love part either. He taught me discipline at a young age and I learned to respect him and what he said. But I also learned he’d go to any length to love me — like the time he came to rescue me after a car accident.
He took me home, made me explain how the accident happened, then sent me off to bed. He handled it just right, and that was the love part he showed me.