A long time ago, I played college football at the University of San Diego. I wasn’t that big, or fast, or tremendously talented. But I worked hard, had a mean streak, and was tremendously competitive. In my Senior year, I was named an Academic All-American. I signed a contract with an English club called the “London Knights” to play after college but thought better of it and hung up my cleats.

I am a supporter of the University, and this past weekend, the football team had its home opener versus Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. The University comped me some tickets, told me they could get me on the field, and encouraged me to go. So I went with my wife Leah and my kids, JD (14), Michael and Analise (both 12). I am not sure any of them had ever before attended a full game there.

Games at “USD” are fun. The Stadium is on campus and easy to walk to. As we walked into the Pavilion separating the football stadium from the indoor gym, we smelled hot dogs and bacon. There was fresh lemonade, tacos, and shaved ice. The crowd seemed excited. Because Cal Poly is close, they had lots of fans there too.

We had great seats. My son Michael was full of questions. Was I better than these players or worse? What number was I like when I played? Who was better; USD or Cal Poly? What was my favorite part of playing football there?

The game went back and forth. In the second half, we walked down onto the field. My former head coach was down there and he talked some to Leah and the kids about how I was as a player. I hope he said nice things. USD ended up on the short side of things, but it was still exciting and fun to be back around people and football. I am glad I had the opportunity to bring them there.

I haven’t played college football for decades, but I still think about it and the lessons it taught me. I try to teach those same things to my kids. By far, the most important thing I learned was hard work. I also learned respect; for both my coaches and teammates. I learned to both win and lose with class and to compete. I learned time management and never to give up. I not only teach my kids all those things, but I also apply those lessons to help people as a lawyer every day.

Despite the loss, it was still a great day. Go Toreros!