Friday, November 17, 2006

A Odd Prayer Request

First, some background...

My kids' orthodontist is a big man and very outgoing. He usually has a smile on his face. He jokes with the kids and puts them at ease. He had me laughing when I signed the contract to pay for three sets of braces and assorted orthodontia.

In his waiting room is a montage of newspaper clippings. Seems the good doctor was a center for Joe Kapp--and the last Cal team to make it to the Rose Bowl, the Holy Grail of Pacific 10 College Football. Cal hasn't been since 1958; it's been longer since they actually won. Two years ago, USC was headed for the National Championship game and the Rose Bowl invitation was open. Cal, as usual, had a critical game coming up.

Doc happened to come into the waiting room. I smiled and said, "So, are you going to the game this weekend?"

We chatted for ten minutes or so about Cal football, about the alumni of that Rose Bowl team, about how most of them were professionals--doctors, lawyers, dentists, successful businessmen, and how they were really tired of being known as "The Last Cal Team to Play in the Rose Bowl." They were ready to hand that legacy on.

Last year, we received a letter letting us know Doc was undergoing chelation treatment for heavy metal poisoning. A couple of months ago we received a letter introducing his new partner. At DD#2's appointment last week, I asked one of the staff how Doc was doing.

"Not good," she said. "He's failing fast."

"Oh, no," I replied. "What is it? Cancer?"

"ALS," she said. "Lou Gehrig's disease."

Cal was on track to go to the Rose Bowl this coming January, until they lost to Arizona last weekend. This weekend they face USC at Memorial Stadium in Los Angeles. In order for Cal to assure themselves of a Rose Bowl bid, they have to beat USC. Cal is the underdog, by about 25 points. USC has lost once this season and they're not ready to repeat that experience.

So there are two parts to my request: one, that Cal beats USC and goes to the Rose Bowl and two, that Doc stays healthy enough to enjoy it.