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    Conor's Corner: 9-26-13

    Conor Casey, a fourth-year cornerback from St. Thomas More, will offer his unique perspective of the Chadron State College football team throughout the season.

    September 26, 2013

    Family Day is something that brings a different meaning to a player’s mindset. Last weekend Chadron State College had the privilege of hosting families from all over and the football team had the opportunity to showcase its ability on the field. We did just that and after overcoming a rocky start, we defeated a tough CO Mesa squad, 30-24.
     
    Family Day means different things for every player. For some, it’s a chance to honor their roots and play for the people who gave them their names. For others, it is a chance to show their mother or father why they are so busy at college and never have a chance to return texts or calls from home.
     
    Speaking from personal experience, I have always looked forward to Family Day. I take a lot of pride in showing my family the sport I love and why I dedicate all of my spare time to it.
     
    However, this Family Day was a first for me since it was the first that I spent without my father in attendance.
     
    My dad, Kevin, died last December in a car accident near our ranch in Lyman County, South Dakota. Yes, he was my father, but he was also my role model, my best friend and we talked about sports constantly. Every time I had a bad practice, I called him. Each time Coach Jersey verbally ripped my face off, my dad was there to listen to me. To put it simply, football was the best way we connected.
     
    He grew up on a ranch and was tough as nails. I grew up in the city and was soft as the pillow supporting my back right now. His life was defined by his work ethic, while I was still trying to understand what exactly work ethic was. We butted heads over whether I should spend my summer working on the ranch all day or spending it in Rapid City where I could work and get ready for football season. Because he let me stay in Rapid City (most of the time), I believe he is the reason I have the opportunity to play on Saturdays.
     
    Every time we flip on the television to watch a college or NFL game we never take a second to think about how those players got there. Sure, they were born with talent, which they eventually turned into skills through hard work that enabled them to play America’s game. But behind each linebacker’s bone-crushing hit or a quarterback’s precise throw there is always a family. At some point in an athlete’s life, the family that raised them had to make certain sacrifices. Whether it was taking a few hours off work to get their child to and from a youth football practice, or spending money out of their hard earned paycheck to buy them a good pair of cleats, they are all sacrifices alike. For me, my father sacrificed time at home because he had to do my chores or hire an extra hand on the days I was not on the ranch.  
     
    On Family Day these sacrifices were finally recognized and rightly so.
     
    I would be lying to you if I said I was looking forward to this year’s Family Day. As I walked with my mom, brother, sister, uncle and cousin, I fought back tears and tried to remember the first memory I had of football. The first thing that popped into my head was my dad throwing me a football for hours on end when I was younger, even though he had wrecked shoulders from knee boarding during his wild days. I just turned 22, and the first memory I could think of was of my dad and a football.
     
    It’s strange when you think about the effect that a simple game can have on a person. For my father and me, football built a bridge between two people who had different interests in life but found something they could both take pride in.
     
    After his death, I’m not planning on letting him down anytime soon.
     
    Family isn’t a game. Whether it is the family you are born into, or the family you make through long hours on and off the field, they are always there for you. When you’re in a family, you’re in it together no matter what. Yes, sometimes you lose. I lost when my dad died, but at his funeral I was quickly reminded that my Eagle family had my back as all my teammates, my brothers, filed into the church for the service. To a man who loved Chadron State football so much it was the greatest honor for those players to recognize his life. It reminded me that with a family, you always win in the end. Win or lose, it all happens together.
     
    As for me and my family, my teammates included, we plan on winning a hell of a lot more than losing.

    casey family
    REPUBLISHED COURTESY OF CHADRON STATE SPORTS INFORMATION: CSC ATHLETICS

    1 Response

    1. SOD BUZZARD Says:

      +1 like

      Awesome piece, young man. Good luck this weekend and in life. I knew your Dad as the guy with the big smile, the big hat, the camera, and a passion for his son's sports. I'm guessing his vantage point for your game is still pretty good.

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