Eileen and I tried to bring up nice, sensitive kids, but I, personally, never thought the Friendly Rivals and Love Thy Enemy term and command would be the woven theme of our family.
Or, maybe the dad still thinks of his sports too seriously.
Matt, our middle child of five, tied into the Butte Central-Havre old Central A rivalry Saturday by being wed to former Blue Pony cheerleader Jessika Kinsella (also played basketball and volleyball, and graduated with football stars Marc Mariani and Gary Wagner) in a nice, fun setting and ceremony at a country outdoor scene up on the Hi-Line. Absolutely, the young men were handsome and the young women all beautiful.
A funny almost coincidence is that about 34 years ago, Matt’s dad was offered a sports editor job at the Havre Daily News and could’ve been covering athletes on the other side of this relationship had he not chosen to move to Butte and join The Montana Standard staff, instead. It was there he met and married Eileen and the clan began.
Matt played football, wrestled and ran track during his days at Butte Central and later worked a few years part-time as a sports correspondent for his dad. His athleticism has since been put to better use as a police officer for the Havre force. Jessika was a dispatcher for the department when they met and therefore as the new family joke goes, was able to tell him where to go all the time.
The wedding capped a five-kid sweep for our household. None wed schoolmates, though some picked rivals — Matt included.
Jay, the eldest, was in cross country and track at Butte Central and met San Diego girl Tisha Pagal — once an Olympic field hockey prospect — while both served in the U.S. Marine Corps. They have been married eight years. Kellie, the eldest daughter, was a four-year varsity cheerleader for the Maroons and became acquainted with Dillon native Jeff Peterson while both were on campus at the University of Montana in Missoula. Jeff was a track/cross country guy, but let Kellie catch him. Kellie, who now gets paid to argue, will debate it the other way. The rivalry continues in friendly tones within the walls of their residence. However, the Dillon-Butte Central rivalry remains intense in these parts.
Daughter Emilie was a visiting a student housing neighbor while going to college at Montana Western when she was introduced to Trent Crismore. Emilie played softball and a tad bit of volleyball at Butte Central, and Trent was a Deer Lodge football player and wrestler. So, the rivalry there is not really of the full-bore type, more of a semi with competition between the two schools now only in some sports.
The youngest, daughter Elizabeth, wanted nothing to do with scoreboards and such after following a sports-crazed dad and four involved siblings through the ranks. Such is why her sports stories are, perhaps, the most entertaining in the family and if she no longer speaks to me after this, her husband of one year, Josh Hettick, former Butte High football and wrestling participant, will let me know — when he quits laughing, too. He’ll love feeding this to the intracity rivalry.
Elizabeth once “got lost” playing tee ball, bypassing second base while advancing to third from first. The best, though, was when she played football. Recruited for the annual BC Powder Puff game one year, she looked at the ground and was puzzled by the logo or insignia she spotted on the field 10 yards away from the 50-yard line. Her sister Emilie was lined up close by and so Elizabeth asked her why it seemed to say “GO” on the field. Emilie was stunned and so, just before the snap, as they say, with big-sister impatience replied:
“Elizabeth, that’s not a G! It’s a 4. It says ‘40,’ like in 40-yard line.”
So, Jessika and Matt completed the wedding sweep with their event on Saturday. The vows included her promise to cheer for his favorite team, the Dallas Cowboys. Really, it was in the vows.
It is not a request her Seahawk-rootin’ father-in-law would have suggested, but he has to think another spice has been added to the family stew for the coming interesting gatherings.