Carl Junction Bulldogs Senior Night 2016

Tonight was a milestone event in the life of my grandson Dayan, the first of many that will occur during this, his senior year in high school. And because it was important to Dayan, it was important to us, his family. For my daughter Elissa, Dayan’s mom, this was a milestone moment in her life as well. 

Tonight was the final home game for the Carl Junction Bulldogs football team. Which meant it was also the last time this year that the Bulldogs Marching Band took the field during halftime. The evening was designated as Senior Night. Twelfth graders who participated in football, band, dance team, cheerleading, cross country, girls’ golf, dynamics and tennis were honored. 

Before the game began, the seniors and their parents lined up on the football field. Each teen stepped forward with his or her parents, as the senior’s name was called, and accomplishments were read over the loudspeaker. The student’s selected college was announced as well, along with future plans, and a list of people the senior wished to thank. It was a very honoring ceremony, full of gratitude, pride and emotion. 

I was so proud of Dayan, standing there tall and smiling between his beaming parents. He was recently accepted into Missouri University in Columbia, where he will pursue a degree in political science. 

After an exciting first half, that ended with Carl Junction and Pittsburg tied 14 – 14, the marching band took the field for the last time in 2016. It was such a poignant moment. The seniors in the band have played together for years, many of them since fifth grade. 

It was a moving, and spectacular performance. The band performed a medley of military tunes as fireworks exploded overhead. For the last tune, the 7th and 8th grade band joined the high schoolers. What a grand way to end the year, and for the seniors,  to exit during a high, emotionally charged moment. 

The halftime show always ends with the crowd jumping to their feet as the band plays the school’s fight song. Tonight there was a significant difference. As the Bulldogs fight song began, the seniors lowered their musical instruments and marched one by one off of the field, signaling an end to their time in marching band. 

What a moment that was, for Dayan, and for his family. 

I remember when it was Dayan, as a 7th grader, who first marched with the high school band, onto the field. I remember being incredulous when he marched onto the field the next year as an 8th grader. I marveled that he would soon be entering high school. And when he took the field the following year, he entered as a freshman.  

Tonight, he marched onto this football field for the final time. How have these years gone by so quickly? How is it possible that this bright, charming, adorable boy has already become an intelligent, gifted, and dashingly handsome young man, with college in his near future? 

Great final halftime performance, Dayan and the Bulldogs Marching Band. Thank you for your commitment and dedication, and for sharing your gifts of music with us. I have loved every minute. 

There are more milestone moments to come this year, for Dayan. I’ll be there. His mom will be there. His family will be cheering him on, storing up memories as treasures. I’m so honored to be your Yaya, Dayan. 

Watch as the seniors leave the field HERE

Marching in the Rain

Tonight was Friday night football, and for the Carl Junction Bulldogs, it was homecoming. It has poured rain all day, cancelling the town’s homecoming parade. But the weather didn’t delay the game or dampen the enthusiasm of the fans. We just accepted that it was raining. 

Greg and I met our daughter Elissa and son-in-law Josh at the stadium. I had three folding seats to protect us from the wet bleachers. Josh graciously stood, gallantly holding an umbrella over his sweet wife. 

The band stayed dry inside the school until two minutes before halftime. But they weren’t going to let a little rain stop them from performing. 

The Marching Bulldogs presented an excellent halftime show, playing a patriotic medley in four parts. I admire this hardworking group. I know from conversations with my grandson Dayan that the band members put in many hours of practice, meeting early before school. 

The band will soon be marching in fall and holiday parades and competing in area competitions. These halftime performances allow the band to hone their skills while entertaining the crowds. 

I was so proud of Dayan and the Marching Bulldogs. Their dedication is showing. And their commitment as well. It requires more effort and concentration to play well in cool, rainy weather. In spite of droplets pelting their faces and challenging conditions that can affect the musical instruments, the band gave a powerful performance that drew whoops and applause. 

I am very aware that Dayan only has a few more halftime performances left as a Marching Bulldog. His senior year is well under way. I will be there for all his performances, throughout the year, rain or shine. Go Bulldogs! Go Dayan!

            Rain can’t dampen my enthusiasm either. 

Catch the Marching Bulldogs’ performance HERE 

Journey 233: Carl Junction Football – First Home Game

Area schools have started their fall semesters and tonight, high school football games kicked off, literally, all over the region. A gorgeous evening with very fall-like temps encouraged a huge turn out for the Carl Junction Bulldogs first home game. 


Elissa and Josh, Greg and I, perched on the stadium bleachers, right at the edge of the student section. Those kids stand up, so not the best seats for the best view, BUT the energy was high…playful and spirited. And we could hear the band very well, since they were in the next section of bleachers. 

And while the football games are fun to watch and parents and students alike enter into the joyous, party-like atmosphere, I am there for the marching band. I am there to cheer during the half time show and appreciate a fine musical performance. Grandson Dayan, who is a junior in high school this year, plays the tuba and is the leader of that section. I am there for my grandson. 


Dayan, his section, and the entire band gave a wonderful performance. They played Grand Illusion and Mr. Roboto, lively selections by Styx. The band sounded great and marched together well. I’ve been in marching band. It takes concentration and skill to march in formation while playing an instrument. Well done, Marching Bulldogs. 


And well done, CJ football team. They won their first home game, 61 to 7. Their season is off to an explosive start!

Elissa, Josh, Greg and I slipped away after the half time show. As we walked toward the car, Josh suddenly said, “Rootbeer floats”. That sounded like a great way to finish the evening! We ended up at Shakes, in Webb City. And no one had a Rootbeer float, although Greg came the closest with a Rootbeer smoothie, which is ice cream and Rootbeer blended together like a shake. 

We all enjoyed our cold treats, seated at a picnic table in front of Shakes, on a beautiful night. The conversation was fun and lively and we laughed as we chatted. Football, marching band, family, ice cream…a great Friday night tradition. 


                     Josh strikes a pose.  

Day 248: Carl Junction Friday Night Football – Not

CJ friday night football logo e

I planned out today’s first early in the week. Tonight was Carl Junction High School’s first home football game. It was also the marching band’s first halftime performance of the new school year and therefore, my grandson Dayan’s first time to take the field with the band this year also. And today was Cheese Pizza Day. My evening plan was to attend the Carl Junction football game with Elissa, Josh and Greg, cheer on the Bulldogs, watch Dayan and the marching band give a stellar performance during halftime and then finish out the evening with a cheese pizza! It seemed like a good plan.

One thing that is absolutely true, in Missouri, is that the weather can change in a heartbeat. As Greg and I drove toward Carl Junction, which is a few miles northwest of Joplin, the sky looked ominous. Dark clouds were massing to the west. Dayan was already at the high school. This young man and the rest of the marching band, have been meeting early, EARLY, in the morning, for weeks, to practice the songs and marching pattern for tonight’s home game. Dayan has been rising at 4:30 am and walking the short distance to school in the dark, to take the field. I so admire the determination and commitment of the band teacher, the band, and Dayan. His mom, who is my daughter Elissa, and her charming beau, Josh, were also at the stadium, saving seats for Greg and me.

CJ friday night football flag e

Elissa and I had a continuing text conversation going on about the threatening weather. From Elissa’s seat on the CJHS bleachers, the sky looked like it was clearing up a bit. She was facing east. I was driving into the west, and as Greg and I arrived at the high school football field, lightning was flickering in the black clouds. Thunder rumbled as we parked and made our way into the stadium. The band was standing on the far side of the field, facing west also, and they too, were watching the sky. Unfortunately, just as we all settled into our seats and prepared to watch the Bulldogs take the field, the storm moved into Carl Junction. A delay of game was called because of lightning. The band members scurried off the field. I got to watch Dayan actually run. He was, after all, carrying a large metal tuba! A moment later, it was announced that we must leave the metal bleachers. As we filed toward the front gate, the black sky loomed overhead. A severe thunderstorm warning was issued and the four of us darted for the car as Dayan and the band gathered in the high school.

CJ friday night football storms e

I had hoped to have a slice of cheese pizza while at the game, thereby celebrating Cheese Pizza Day. With rain pelting the car and lightning splitting the sky, we changed course and drove to Randy’s Drive In, located at 1201 Pennell in Carl Junction. My first shifted from pizza to trying out this well loved hamburger hang out. Greg and I sampled the special of the day, the cheeseburger basket, while we waited to see if the weather would clear enough for the game to be played and the band to perform. The cheeseburger was an excellent old fashioned type burger. I enjoyed chatting with Greg, Elissa and Josh while savoring the burger. We laughed and shared stories while getting text updates from Dayan. Greg has a great weather app on his Galaxy phone and he kept us apprised of the weather. As one storm front moved through the area, another was forming behind it. And yet another appeared further west. Just as we finished our meal and moved to the car, intending to drive back to the football stadium, Dayan texted that they were releasing the band members to go home. Whether or not the rain cleared and the football team took to the field, the halftime show was cancelled.

randys drive in cheeseburger e

I did at least get to see Dayan and give him a hug. He was one tired young man. His attitude was great, as always, knowing that the hard work the band has put in these last three weeks will yield wonderful results when they do get to perform. There will be other home games. Elissa and Dayan pointed out that this was the first time in years that a halftime band performance has been cancelled due to the weather.

My firsts shifted around this evening. No high school football game, no marching band performance, no cheese pizza. However, as they always do, the firsts did appear, exactly as they were supposed to. First cancelled half time performance, first time to eat at Randy’s Drive In. I am one to make the most of what is happening NOW. I enjoyed the cozy impromptu dinner at Randy’s with Greg, Elissa and Josh. And I am so proud of Dayan, who is learning at a young age to also make the most of the present moment. He accepted the gift of the unexpected early end to the evening. He was going to get some rest! We will all be there at the next Carl Junction High School football game, ready to cheer on the team and clap wildly for the Bulldogs Marching Band.

CJ friday night football cindy