By Jan Gunter
Even though I’m not usually glued to my TV watching sports, yesterday I found myself interested in two major games airing on TV at the same time: University of Texas Baseball and the NBA Championship Series. The UT baseball team needed to win their Super Regional game in the blazing Texas heat to advance to their 34th College World Series in Omaha. The Dallas Mavericks were playing for the NBA championship.
The last few years have been disappointing for UT Baseball as year after year their hopes of getting to Omaha have been dashed, so it was gratifying to see them win last night, a close and hard-fought game.
I’ve been watching the Mavs star, Dirk Nowitzki play for years and was so hoping that he would finally get his championship. Last night he had scored very few points in the early quarters but came on strong in the 4th and helped cap a momentous win over the Miami Heat and their superstars, leading his team to their first NBA title in franchise history. He finally achieved what had eluded him – he won his championship and was named MVP of the series.
The reality for Ronald McDonald House families is that they are in a competition of sorts as well, but it’s not an athletic competition that yields them fame or money. It’s not a competition they choose. They are fighting for their child’s health, for a good outcome, for their child to have better days ahead. They are superstars and superheroes, in the fight of their lives.
This photo of my buddy, Conner reminds me of how we are always rooting for our families. Conner was here one year on Halloween while his baby brother was in the hospital, and he went trick-or-treating with Ann Jerome’s family in the Mueller neighborhood next to the Ronald McDonald House. As you can tell, he was a very happy Superman! While Conner’s family was at the Ronald McDonald House, Conner would come running in to the office to see me, yelling, “Jam,” his rendition of my name. I loved it! I miss that kid!
He’s off to bigger and better things these days, like graduation from Preschool. And his little brother is doing better and hasn’t been in the hospital as much. This family, like so many, keeps smiling in the midst of their pediatric health challenges.
For all the families fighting the fight right now, please know that your friends at the Ronald McDonald House continue to cheer you on! The staff, volunteers and donors are here working hard to do our part to support you. When the days don’t go the way you had hoped, we’re still in your corner rooting for you. When you have those victories – small or large – we’re celebrating with you.
P. S. Writing this blog post was also gratifying because I don’t want Jane to corner the market on posts about UT Athletics. Is that why your posts are so popular Jane?