The Super Bowl is history. Paul and I used to watch it together, I didn’t feel the urge this year. In high school, I never went to a football game, or any sport for that matter. Farm kids helped at farm work and weren’t taken back to school. Those kids who did participate had to still do their work.

Due to lack of interest, I didn’t attend sporting events on dates either. We went to horse-pulling contests, local fairs, movies, and auto races.

Since then, I have been to many football, baseball, soccer and basketball games. Our kids, grandkids and students I taught drew me to them, and I enjoyed one professional baseball game. In 1983, it was a Phillies-Houston Astros game in Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia. We saw Nolan Ryan, Steve Carlton, Mike Schmidt and Pete Rose. It was a pretty awesome game even for this “going strictly for the adventure” gram. Grandson, Dan, was a little fellow with his mommy Renee and daddy, our daughter Paula, Paul and me. I enjoyed the whole day.

I went to a NASCAR race at Richmond. There were 100,000 people. It was awesome. The races were always on our TV, so I was acquainted with racing. The others all went other times; but I went, sadly, because Dan was sick (in leukemia treatment) and his mom stayed home with him.

We perused the racetrack at the Poconos when Paul and I were on an anniversary weekend. There was no racing, we just snooped around and left. Once we went to a Busch race at Nazareth with brother, Jerry.

Daughter, Paula and family now live near us, but 20-plus years ago they lived just a few miles from the Darlington Speedway in South Carolina. We went there several times off season before it closed down. We had a personal tour of the entire layout.

I was to Sprint Car races many times – Williams Grove, Clinton County, Port Royal, and frequently at Selinsgrove Speedway. I went to be with Paul, but I was pretty good at picking the best cars and drivers. I don’t shout, I watch, and occasionally stand up. I have been known to have a “favorite driver” but it had to do with skill and clean driving. Ray Tilley was my favorite and then Barry Camp. When in college, I was assigned a paper on a sports icon. I chose Barry. He invited Paul and me to his home. Paul was interested in this interview (and his trophy collection) too.

I have a favorite sports venue. It is the Winter Olympics. Ice dancing is number one; I love snowboarding, all the downhill sports and speed skating, among others.

There are non-sporting events in stadiums too. My Selinsgrove graduation was held in the gymnasium. The only person who came to see me get my diploma was my mother. I guess mothers have to do that kind of thing. I went to many local school stadiums to see relatives, former students, our girls, grandsons and granddaughter, and most recently our granddaughter from Susquehanna.

I graduated from college on the Bloomsburg Fairgrounds stadium in 1978. My family and grandmother came. Then again in December 1986 in the indoor auditorium for a master’s degree. Only Paul came.

I have been to many musicals and concerts. Both local and big-city Broadway and off-Broadway shows. I love equine exhibitions and competitions. Paul and I were on the Bill Glass crusade committee when he was here. That was more than an adventure, it was exceptionally rewarding. I also went to many conferences in resorts and big arenas, such as Renewing the Heart in Philadelphia (where Jim Dobson showed up unexpectedly). Jim Dobson showed up unexpectedly at our church one Sunday too. Other stadiums galore.

Some day before I get “old” I want to go the stadiums where my grandchildren and great grandchildren are famous speakers and writers. (smile).

I hope these personal memories bring up your own memories that were on a back burner.

Life certainly is an adventure. God doesn’t want us to be arm-chair spectators. The Bible says we are in a race all the days of our lives. Paul, the apostle, said in II Timothy 4:7 and 8; “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness which the lord, the righteous judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have love his appearing.”

I am in that race, on the path, and I love it. As you know, when one becomes older, the physical race slows down, but God still gives strength for the hills and deep valleys. Bit by bit, piece by piece. Possibly perseverance and faith endures even better with age!

Betty Blyler lives in New Berlin. For comments, questions or speaking engagements, e-mail: blyler@dejazzd.com.

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