I was over at BlacktopXchange, the sports blog, and saw this video:
Very touching. There are lots of YouTube postings of soldiers making surprise returns home. But this had deeper meaning for me.
I’m now spending my time between Washington and Louisville. But see the football field in this video: Our house was less than 1,000 yards from it when we lived in Belgium. That’s on the campus of the International School of Brussels in the Watermael-Boitsfort commune. We literally lived right next door to the campus for six years. And I mean literally in the literal sense.
See that guy on the left in the black outfit at the 1:10 mark? That’s the ISB athletic director Jason Baseden. That building behind him? That’s where our son went to middle school and high school.
Our son didn’t play football at the school, much to the disappointment of parents on the football team. (He was big enough to play tight end.) His sports were cross country, volleyball, basketball and track. He played baseball with the kids in the local league, not with the school. His heart was in basketball, and we told him the downside of playing football was if he got hurt, he wouldn’t recover in time for hoops season.
And he had a rewarding high school sports career. He played basketball through middle school and high school. His under-14 middle-school team came in second place in the European championship in Frankfurt. His high-school basketball team won the European championship for his division in his senior year at the Hague. His volleyball team placed third in the European championships in his junior year in Brussels, and then went to the Hague the following year and came in second, where he got an honorable mention for the all-star team.
ISB had an extensive sports program. Practically everything your kid would want to play. And the kids who participated in sports, boys and girls, traveled all through Europe. As parents, we got to see high school gyms in Germany, England, the Netherlands, France, Austria and Greece. And our son got to countries were weren’t able to get to because I had to work.
Just so you know, ISB is hosting Bitburg, high school at the military base in Germany, in this video. The only time I’d hear of Bitburg before we went to Europe was when Ronald Reagan went to the Nazi military cemetery and when the Ramones released the album “Bonzo goes to Bitburg.”
ISB football and basketball regularly competed against the high schools at the military bases. We held our own pretty well, all things considered, given that the military kids considered our athletes as the rich diplomats’ kids.
So seeing this video is a reunion for me as well. Of all the places I’ve lived, Brussels was my favorite. I flashed back on obsessing over high school sports, going to the football games on this field.
Anyway, I saw the video, and now I’m homesick.