Marcus and I had a good day in Lincoln yesterday. Cold, but good.

I am a Husker Football fan. Marcus incrementally eased into fandom. Like most people, it started with the food and social aspect. He’d go to a live game with me once in a while, and take in the show of it. Several years back, the stadium added firework blasts after each score, that, on top of a brutal sunburn on the back of his neck, was the final straw. So he decreed, “I like the bar, instead.”

Memorial Stadium

This last week Marcus said, “Alright, fine. I’ll go to the stadium.”  Then, the weather “turned.” Fortunately, we could see it coming but, the forecast said cold (30 F) and mist or even…snow?!?! Ugh!

My dilemma: Finally, Marcus has agreed to a live game again, and Mother Nature is gonna throw this at us!

But, we’re Nebraskans.

We know how weather works. You bundle, you plan, you go.

So we did. We got hats with masks, gloves, Marcus doubled his red jackets, and I wore my trusty and true heavy Husker coat. It’s not that 30 degrees is *that cold* in Nebraska terms, but the first cold is always different. It gets under your skin when you’re not quite braced yet.

Marcus Sikora,man with Down syndome, wearing a Wright Printing tshirt and holding Hawaiin Mimosa

We “pregamed” with a cheesburger and Mimosa breakfast.

Walking helped, and pacing a few stops along the way helped too. At the stadium, we bought a fuzzy, red, Husker blanket for our laps.

This game, Marcus also brought a pair of noise reducing headphones to help the cause. These ended up doing great double duty when we realized to put them on over his hat, then hoody, to keep the wind from blowing it off. For the win!

Speaking of: we won!

Over the years, Marcus has really gotten into the game. And over the last few years, he’s become pretty emotionally attached. Which, for a burgeoning Husker fan, can be rough. (It is! It’s been rough…)

One of his favorite days, I think ever, was the day the Huskers beat the Ducks in 2016.  Of all of the memorable days, and he’s had a notable share already, between book signings, fashion modeling with celebrities, the United Nations, the World Down Syndrome Congress, I mean he’s got a wealth of experiences to choose from! But that day, that day included Times Square (with his picture included on the big screen) then Central Park, then (and this is where it gets really good) We watched the Huskers beat the Oregon Ducks from the Times Square hotel bar. THEN we walked across the street to Lion King.

Ahhh, a winning football game then Broadway. That’s the life! (You can read more about that day’s adventures and lessons here: A Short PSA to New Parents of a Child with Ds.)

Marcus was born at the beginning of the Husker Football Decade, but by the time football starting making sense, well, the days of nearly always winning were past.  

What I’m trying to help him with is that losing isn’t the end of the world.  Winning should feel good (even great – woooohooo!) But losing should be, “Bummer. Try again next week.” Easier said than done, but we’re working on it.

Anyway! Yesterday, we won! It was a weird game…again. Including some crazy fun moments.

Let him Be

Here’s another thing about Marcus. He sat in the stadium seat, bundled up. And, to the outsider, relatively stoic. I stand up, yell, scream, jump around, you know, the works.

Marcus sits right there.

I shouldn’t speculate what other people think, but being human, I do.

I think that they think, he’s not having fun, he’s not getting into it, or he maybe doesn’t “get it.”  So, whoever thinks he’s not into it, is wrong. Trust me. 

True to history, when we were in the car, after the game. He’s alight! How great it was we won! How he yelled for the team! All the excitement! And we won!

It was ten years ago I put in writing my own aprehensions about he appears in public when he zones into himself, I keep this blog, “Let him Think”  up because it’s part of my own learning process about accepting his processing. Since then I’ve let go of worrying too much about how it “looks” and let him absorb the environment in his way; I know he’s soaking it up.

Two Husker fans bundled in red and black.One thing though, he has come around to “high five” me and others after a big moment, that helps keep us all connected.

So, there we go, another quick Day in the Life, post. Today we’ll prep a big fun dinner for Halloween, Marcus’ favorite holiday! If anything turns out photo-worthy , we’ll share on “the socials” so stay tuned, there will be pumpkin!


PS – First thing Marcus said to me this morning, “We won!”