Seeing family coming together on the field in Waller Friday night (despite them wearing different colors) got me to thinking to one time I was able to share the field with some of my family.
Sealy linebacker coach Jeremy Phillips squared off against the man who taught him just about everything he knows in a family reunion that was literally split in half.
It was the first time the family met with members on opposing sidelines although it was a fairly familiar location. Jim Phillips made a homecoming of sorts a couple years ago, returning to Waller ISD after stints at Greenville and Pasadena Dobie.
In his first stretch with the Bulldogs, he was able to coach two of his sons to Division I schools in the old stadium that was down the street from the new shiny one that hosted Friday’s family rivalry.
Jeremy was the youngest (best) of three boys although was four years behind Jason, who handled quarterbacking and linebacker duties to the tune of District MVP his senior year.
When it was Jeremy’s turn to fill that same roll, his older brother was only a phone call away as he was donning purple and white while playing linebacker for the Texan Christian Horned Frogs.
The insider information guided him to North Texas University where he also played in the second level with the linebackers, although according to an article on rivals.com, he was very seriously considering a different school.
After college, Jeremy got right into coaching, serving on his father’s staff as well as the Blinn College staff before landing in Sealy. He hadn’t faced his dad prior to that game and although they had talked on the phone they hadn’t seen each other in person in a while either.
I caught that reunion pre-game and couldn’t help but think of my own sports memories with my family and a little more specifically to the one and only season I was on the same team as my brother.
My dad helped coach for a lot of my in-town teams but it was always an assisting role and he wasn’t a huge athlete in his days. My mom didn’t play a whole lot either so nobody still knows how Mitch and I became so athletically-inclined but that’s a story for a different time.
Mitchel is only really 17 months older than me but there were not many opportunities for us to hold spots on the same roster. But his last year of little league we somehow managed to get drafted by the same coach.
That coach had a son, Mike, who was in the grade in between me and Mitch. Mr. Dave Tracy made me a draft choice of his my last three years in the league and Mike and I were fortunate enough to go to the championship each of those final years.
It was the second of that three-year span where Mitch was able to get in on the fun although I still don’t really know how we ended up in the same draft again.
In any case, it turned out to be one of my most favorite baseball seasons of all-time and not only because it ended the way we all dreamed. It was because I held down the second base slot and was able to relay my throws onto my brother who was the first baseman.
The McNanna’s held down the right side of the infield and captured a championship on a gloomy day on Inglesi Field.
Ask me what I had for lunch yesterday and I couldn’t tell you but what I can remember is that Dylan Rizzo threw a pitch right by Connor Mulcahy for the final out of that game to seal the deal.
It was back-to-back for me but unequivocally the sweetest because of those family ties.