I’ve wanted to write this for a while, but I haven’t had the time to sit down and put all of the pieces together in an intelligible way. It’s long, I know, but I think that at this time in the history of FSU and my own history, it’s something I want to say. I guess I was always an FSU fan more or less. I had a cousin that was a pretty good player for FSU back in the early sixties. He played a little while for the Chargers, but I have never really known him. I just knew that he played for FSU and that my uncle had gone to school there. We used to listen to games on the radio in the car. We lived in a small town in the western panhandle without cable. And the television we had was a small 13 inch black and white set; so I had never seen FSU play football. Tallahassee might as well have been New York City as far as I was concerned. But one day late in the fall of 1983, my dad and I were walking through McRae’s in Pensacola. And there on the second floor, they had a color television display. And in colors so vivid and amazing, I saw Florida State play on television for the first time. My dad and I stood there watching for a good long while. It was the Florida-FSU game from 1983. We were getting hammered (FSU, not my dad and I). But I remember specifically asking my dad, “Who is he?” pointing to one of the players on the screen. He told me, “That’s the quarterback, Kelly Lowrey.” Watching that game, watching those beautiful helmets against the artificial green of Astroturf and color TV and I was hooked. Kelly Lowrey became the first college football player I ever really knew about. And even though we lost that game, (sometimes cheaters do win), I became a true Seminole that day. Knowing that Kelly Lowrey and David Ponder shared the field together at Florida State makes the next part of my story all the more remarkable. My wife and I have two boys, 7 and 5; and we have tried to raise them right, as Seminole fans. But we are stuck over here in Mobile which is within an SEC fortress through which FSU and ACC news rarely penetrates. So I guess it was just a matter of time before my older son brought home a painting he had done at school featuring a football and a University of Alabama pennant. It was time for a pilgrimage. I had to do something to counter the incessant torrent of SEC indoctrination that permeates the very bones of this community. So, we loaded up and made a road trip to Tallahassee in July. It was about 150 degrees when we got there we were sweating profusely from the moment we parked the car in front of Doak Campbell Stadium. We went inside to the Gift Shop. And while my boys were amazed at the size of the Stadium and all the bricks and Osceola on Renegade out front, the first lesson they learned is why there is no Gatorade in the store?we drink Powerade around here. We went into the stadium and got to check out the field as they pressure washed the seating areas in preparation for the coming season. Then we took a walk around to the other side of the stadium, into the athletic center to see the trophies. And it was pretty amazing seeing the BCS Championship trophies and the Heisman trophies, the jerseys and other exhibits. I explained who Bobby Bowden was and how Jimbo Fisher was the new head coach. At the conclusion of our time in the athletic center, we went out to go back around to the other side of the stadium and our parking lot. It was July and Jimbo was hosting one of the football camps that day, so we went to the entrance to the practice fields to peek in and maybe glimpse one of the coaches. And just as we arrived at the entrance to the practice fields, Christian Ponder walked out, hot and tired from working out with receivers. Nearly echoing the words my dad had told me almost thirty years ago about Kelly Lowrey, I said to my sons, “There’s Christian Ponder. He’s the quarterback for FSU.” Christian heard me say his name and stopped for just a minute to talk to me and the boys. It was a short polite conversation; he was excited about the coming year. He shook all of our hands and went on down to the locker room. But from that moment, my boys became fans of FSU in general and Christian Ponder specifically. It was a great day and Christian played a huge part in that. So, we were thrilled, of course, when Christian was invited to come and play in the Senior Bowl, here in Mobile. My older son and I decided we would go to the game on Saturday, but the whole family was going to go to the Fan Frenzy on Friday night to meet the players. We met and got autographs from a number of great players. But the two who were head and shoulders above the rest were Rodney Hudson, and of course Christian Ponder. Of all the players we met, Christian was the only one who asked my boys their names. He talked right to them and made bigger fans out of them even than they had been before. In a beautiful bit of poetic justice, standing over Christian’s shoulder, just out of earshot, was a beaming David Ponder. I have thought about the fact that he was on the field that day with Kelly Lowrey the day I became a true FSU fan. And now my sons were given the same gift I was given, and David Ponder is there, too. The Seminole Family is just that, isn’t it? Of course we were thrilled to be in the stands as Christian won the MVP of the Senior Bowl and we’ll watch excitedly to see where he’ll be drafted so we can continue to pull for the most important FSU player in my son’s lives. We’ve been blessed to watch him play, but even more blessed to know the kind of man he is. I don’t know if Octoberfest is around this board much anymore, or Kelroy or Christian either for that matter. But I hope they get the opportunity to know how important they have been to the development of new Seminole fans in two generations. Thanks, Guys. You’ve set the bar high for the next generation, but I think they’ll be up for the challenge.