Friday, June 6, 2014

All Our Chips to the Middle in 2005

Let's take it back to January 4, 2000.  That's when our first Pope Panther was born.  On October 20, 2001, our second Pope Panther was born.  And tonight, at 6th grade graduation, the course we set with full vigor on August of 2005, will be complete.

Kindergarten Sneak-A-Peak, August 2005

Then, in January of 2000, we lived in a different area of Arlington.  In fact, in our girls' first 5 years we relocated across the state -- twice.  We lived in Fort Worth a while, and a most crucial part of the girls rearing was imminent: education.

We heard of Pope Elementary.

We visited the school, and there was an immediate confirmation we wanted our girls to enter those hallways we know so well (now), and begin their formal education.

Problem, though, we lived in Fort Worth...

To use a sports euphemism lightly, Idaly and I put ALL our chips in the middle, and even many chips we didn't have.  As I was explaining to my brother the other day, we were looking for a zip code, not a walk-in-closet.  And, with the Lord's help and our unrelenting pursuit to be the best parents we can be, many things fell in place.

There was a home on Ravinia Circle, which we got for $5,000 less than a cash offer from a man in California.  The catch? We appealed to its one and only owner, saying we had two ballerinas, who needed to go to Pope.

There was a realtor, who showed up in a motorcycle, cut-off shirt and looked and smelled like he'd been digging ditches all day.  Well, he had, as it were.  He remodels homes, too.  We did a quick walk-through and said, "we want it."

There was a loan officer who pulled all strings available to give us a second mortgage.  Remember, we still had our home in Fort Worth.

There were our parents, who supported us financially, emotionally and every which way.

All this happened in June of 2005.  All at once, all for Pope.

Thinking back on it, I cringe at the thought of all that was risked.  I remember sleepless nights, when we weren't sure how we would handle it all.

Today, as Aytana walks across that stage to finish sixth grade, none of the above matters, and yet it all matters incredibly.  It's done.  Our girls have thrived as students, musicians, athletes, citizens of Pope, and if there is ever a more perfect opportunity to risk it all, I can't imagine what it will be.

Pope Elementary change our lives.  It has given our girls one of the most solid foundations as they move on to junior high and high school.  Idaly and I have given a lot of our time and resources to Pope, and we'd do it again and again and again.

Pope family, thank you.  Thank you faculty.  Thank you staff.

Simply, than you.

I'm not a fan of long good-byes, and, well, Idaly is a Pope staff member now.  We, she and I, "ain't" going no where.  But, I cannot forget to take a moment to thank our Pope family for what you have done for us, for our girls.

"What is once well done is done forever."
 ~ Henry David Thoreau

All of our love,

Javier and Idaly Najera
May 2014


Sunday, April 27, 2014

Winner, Winner, Winner, Loser, Chicken Dinner. Wait, What?

It's not unusual for local sports fans to jump on the proverbial bandwagon when teams are winning, and especially when they make playoff tournaments.  Nobody likes to mull through the grind of losing teams, unless, of course, you are a Dallas Cowboys fan.

Jerry Jones has mastered the art of making the Dallas Cowboys an exception to all conventional sports wisdom.  It's been said by me that winning, certainly winning another Super Bowl, is really not a priority for Mr. Jones.  Why would it be?  The Cowboys are the most valuable franchise in the NFL.  The house they play in includes a $14 million mirror, Victoria Secret retail shop, endless private suites, a gigantic HD TV, and, oh yeah, a football field.  Most of the above is why I miss this place so much.  Old, smelly and way out of date, it was nothing else but a football field.  So, I thought I'd make the case -- again.

Last night I was enjoying the birthday celebration of Laura Parades at a local establishment.  The band, which played anthems of decades past (the decades that included long hair), introduced a song this way (and I'm taking paraphrase-ical liberties with it):

"You all know last Wednesday the Dallas Stars won, tying the Series at 2.  The Dallas Mavericks won, tying the Series at 1.  And, the Texas Rangers completed a sweep of the Oakland A's."

     (that should have been enough of an intro, but...)

"Aren't you glad it's not football season?  Here's this song for Mr. Jones' Dallas Cowboys.!!"

I can't begin to tell you what song they played.  I didn't recognize it.  My mind had long ventured in to this thought I'm writing about today.  But, I am positive there was no need to mention the Cowboys.

The Dallas Stars, our local NHL team, is in the hunt for Lord Stanley's Cup.  I'm not a hockey fan, but will keep up with the Stars during their run.  That makes me a bandwagon-rider of sorts, but I have never been able to learn to appreciate hockey.  However, they won Game Three, 3-0, and Game Four, 4-2, last Wednesday.  Both very convincing wins, on their run to greatness.  Most importantly, though, they tied the Series, 2-all.

The Dallas Mavericks tied the Series at 1-all.  They didn't just tie the Series against the hated San Antonio Spurs, they beat them up, 113-92!  This is a Series in which no one thought the Mavericks would win one, certainly not an away-game.  I'm more of a basketball fan, and this was definitely and exciting result.      

I am a baseball fan, and Martin Perez hurled a gem on Wednesday.  He pitched 9 scoreless innings, on his way to a Texas Rangers sweep of the Oakland A's, to give the Rangers first place in the West and best record in the AL.  This is the beginning of baseball, but this sweep and Martin's performance will be huge at the end of baseball.   

So, if you want to know -- again -- why the Dallas Cowboys continue to dominate the Chicken Fried Nation, i.e., "North Texas" sports scene, all you have to do is notice the little things.  In spite of heroics happening on ice, hardwood floors and baseball diamonds, the punch line to the drummer's pitch last night was about Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys.

Love him or hate him, he is always there, and so is the silver and blue.

That, and Texas sports fans are rabid, madly passionate football fans.

The party was great, with great friends.

Viva la sports!