October 27 – After a tough week of unanswered questions about Coach Kill’s condition and the causes of the seizures we loaded the buses this morning for the trip to Missouri State University in Springfield. I stayed in touch with Rebecca while they were in the hospital in St. Louis until they returned home last night.
We left the Arena at 8:00 am, stopped at a rest stop on I-44 for lunch from Wendy’s and arrived at our hotel just before 2:00. I proctored a test for two players shortly after arrival and then moved into my room. I prepared a copy of “The Five Love Languages” for Bryce Saia and Erin Castro and then made my way to the walk through prior to going to dinner.
We loaded the buses and went to the Bass Pro Shops for dinner at Hemingway’s Restaurant and their seafood buffet. Wow! After dinner we came back to the hotel and I watched the World Series game 5, which St. Louis won 4-2 to take the championship. During the early innings I prepared my chapel talk and I believe I’m well prepared to say something that fits the day and the events of the week. I fell asleep after quite a while of trying to get my mind to shut down. At 12:45 in the morning the fire alarm was going off so I went out to the hallway to see what was going on. There was nothing so I went back to bed and eventually fell asleep again.
October 28 – I was awake at 5:30 and made my way to the hotel lobby with my Bible, “Orthodoxy” by G. K. Chesterton and my iPod. At 6:00 the coffee was ready and I continued my reading and prepared my talks for the Baseball camp in North Carolina coming up in December.
I showered and prepared for chapel which started at 9:15. I spoke from II Corinthians 4:7-10 with reference to Coach Kill’s situation and those among us who have encountered injury or illness in our earthen vessels. I further talked about the attitudes that would help us to press through adversity. The pre-game meal followed that and we loaded the buses at 11:00 to go to the stadium. I was counted on to guide us into the right place at the stadium as I’m the one with the most experience in traveling to many of these stadiums.
Coach Kill made an appearance in the locker room prior to the game and made some brief remarks. He looked terrible and was maybe at 20% of the energy and intensity that we expect from him. The game was well played in the first half and we went to the locker room with a ten point lead. Coach Kill also spoke briefly with the team during the half-time and then returned to the press box for the remainder of the game. The second half was again a struggle, but we fought through some adversity and prevailed 27-17. Coach Kill met us in the locker room and spoke with the team. Coach Matukewicz gave him a game ball and called him the M.I.P – Most Important Person for the game. The players all stood and gave him a warm ovation. After that we took a knee and said the Lord’s Prayer. We hurried to get out of that very crowded locker room, loaded the buses and were on the road just prior to 5:30.
During the ride home we learned that Western Illinois beat Northern Iowa in the dome and that Youngstown State beat Illinois State. That gives everybody in the Gateway at least one loss and we sit here with two. To win or share the conference championship we’ll have to win out and get some help. We arrived in Carbondale at 11:00 pm.