Living the Dream!
How did little ole me get to be in the ESPN cover shot with the great Coach Lane Kiffen and our very own outstanding FAU President Dr. John Kelly accepting the Championship Trophy after the thrilling Boca Bowl win? Lucky for me…I guess I was in the right place at the right time!
What a privilege and honor! With picture perfect weather, Tuesday night’s colossal victory by the FAU Owls over the Akron Zips turned out to be an unexpected highlight in my life. The 50 to 3 beat-down inflicted on the Zips had me cheering from beginning to end.
As an FAU alum there is much to be proud of regarding my alma mater and it starts with University President Dr. John Kelly. Since his arrival, a whole new positive vibe and list of achievements continues to grow. However, last Tuesday was all about football so let’s savor the moment.
This Team is Outstanding.
I have attended a number of games since the new stadium opened, including the first game ever played and every ‘Boca Bowl’ since inception where I have been a Boca Bowl Captain since its beginnings. With that in mind, I have never witnessed a crowd of that size nor that level of excitement at the stadium. The atmosphere was exhilarating! The new sponsors of the game had to be equally impressed with the game that bore their name as “Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl.”
This season proves that coaching makes a difference as the team improved throughout the season. The game had many thrilling plays and made the point that Head Coach Lane Kiffen is obviously a risk taker. It’s even more obvious that his team loves him for that. Speaking of Coach Kiffen, the stadium was abuzz with the news that prior to the game he had agreed to a new ten-year contract with FAU. My fingers are crossed that he appreciates FAU and Boca Raton as much as the players and fans appreciate him. Hey Coach! It’s Boca Raton. What’s not to like? We have the only stadium media box with a view of the ocean! With Coach Kiffen’s announcement, it was a great beginning to a storybook night.
In a fitting tribute, I was delighted to see former Head Coach Howard Schnellenberger down on the field for the coin toss. After all, this is the ‘House that Howard built.’
Honored and Privileged
I found out, with all of the hard work that goes along with being an elected official, it does come with some perks. I was privileged to have on-field access for the game where I remained well into the second quarter with my fellow council members. I then retreated to other parts of the stadium to share the experience with family, friends and acquaintances. My personal observation is that the thrill of being on field gave me the experience of how fast and furious the action really is and how BIG the players are, while viewing from the seats gives one a much better perspective of what is going on in the game. But, it didn’t end there.
As the final seconds ticked down the fans flowed onto the field and joined the players in a wonderful celebration of a job well-done. What a great feeling! But then came the ‘icing on the cake’ when I found myself right in the middle of the awards celebration with Dr. Kelly standing next to me and Coach Kiffen in front of me as he accepted the winner’s trophy. What a whirlwind! I enjoyed every moment and will never forget it. This is a win for our entire community!
FAU is on a roll. I am told enrollment applications for fall semester 2018 have increased significantly over 2017. There is a major story unfolding right in front of us and that is the growth in stature and reputation of the University’s sports teams and academics. This is good news for our city. And let’s not forget our other hometown universities. Both Lynn University and Palm Beach State College have also grown in stature over the recent past with both having excellent leadership. But for now, the day belongs to FAU.
Andrea Levine O’Rourke
Boca Raton City Council Member