Welcome visitors!

Thank you for visiting our Christmas Service Blog. We welcome comments from visitors.
We would love to hear if you decide to implement this idea in your family.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas Wayne

One of the things that Lani and I loved the most about living in Spokane was the opportunity we had to have regular visits from the Dittbrenners. My favorite visits took place while I was working as an intern with the Spokane Shock.

With the Shock one of my responsibilities was to help plan and organize all of the in-game entertainment that took place during breaks in the actual game. One of our most popular contests was the "Outback Pass, Punt, Kick Challenge". For this contest contestants have to throw a pass from the goal line through the uprights, then make a punt from the 10 yard line through the uprights, and then for the final phase they have to make a field goal from the 20 yard line. For those of you that don't know the uprights on an arena football field are half the width of regular uprights so making the field goal is very difficult.

One day my boss and I were having a meeting to discuss whether either of us knew someone who had experience kicking (we were hoping to find someone who could make the field goal because we wanted to make the event more exciting). I suggested that we use my brother-in-law, who had kicked in college at Dixie State.

I called Wayne and we figured out a way for him to fly up to Spokane so that he could show off is kicking skills. We had a lot of fun and Wayne put on a great show in front of over 10,000 fans including his wife and four kids. It was really fun to watch him go through the kicking routine. Check out this video to see him in action (sorry, after 3 tries and sucking up everyone's bandwidth trying to post- we will try again later- it is worth coming back for!).

After the game Wayne and I had a really good talk. We talked about my goals and discussed one of the goals I had made on my mission, which was to win a championship ring. As fate would have it, the Shock ended up advancing all the way to Arena Bowl XXIII (which is the Arena Football League's equivalent to the Super Bowl).

I called Wayne to invite him to the game. In talking with him, it was evident that he had a few things going on, but he dropped everything to come up to Spokane and support me.

The game was a lot of fun, and the Shock ended up winning the AFL Championship. I found out after the game that I would be one of the few interns that would receive a Championship Ring. I was so excited and Wayne was so excited for me.

After the game Lani, Wayne and I all went to the different after parties that the team was throwing to celebrate the win. It was awesome to have Wayne there to take part in an exciting time in my life. I think Wayne had a good time, but what really stood out was how proud he was of me for accomplishing one of my goals. I felt really special that Wayne had made the effort to come up and be there for it.

The time Lani and I had in Washington was awesome and we really loved living by Wayne, Amy, and the kids. During my time up there I really grew to love Wayne and developed a brotherly bond with him. Unfortunately, I had quite a struggle figuring out the best way to honor him this Christmas.

Initially, I decided that to honor Wayne I would volunteer to help with setting up at the Kids Are Music shows and ride on the Kids Are Music float in the Town of Cary Christmas Parade. I knew Wayne and Amy had done Kids Are Music for awhile and thought that helping with those things would be a good way to grow closer to Wayne. However, after doing the set up at a few shows and riding on the float, I concluded that those activities were really more fatherly responsibilities than a service to Wayne. After this realization I felt a bit distraught knowing that I still hadn't really done something that would be a cool service in honor of Wayne.

The next Saturday, a Christmas miracle occurred. When I received word from Mitzi that she had hurt her foot while hanging Christmas lights. I thought "this is perfect!!!" In honor of Wayne (who hurt his foot a few years ago while hanging Christmas decorations), I will do some service for Mitzi."

That night, with the help of Houston, I baked Mitzi some cookies and took them over to her. Unfortunately, the service for Mitzi idea never really got off the ground, because her foot healed much faster than I anticipated. I was more or less 0 for 2 in performing a cool service idea for Wayne. In reflecting on my time with him I came up with the perfect idea.

I decided to host the first ever "Wayne Dittbrenner Football Day Camp" in which I will teach my nephews (and any nieces who are interested) the basics of Wayne's favorite game. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate with my plans and it rained everyday this week. However, I believe that will work out well because now we can schedule the camp for a day when Dillon can come out to North Carolina and participate. We will even provide a room for him at the Hock Football Training Facility here in lovely Cary, NC.

During this exciting one day camp participants will learn the fundamentals of throwing, route running, catching, and maybe even kicking (though Wayne is much more qualified to teach that skill than me). Campers will also be treated to lunch and game film (Wayne's highlight video of kicking for the Shock).

Merry Christmas Wayne. I'm really glad that we had the opportunity to bond while we were both living in Washington. Thanks for being a great older brother and friend.


PS. When are you coming out here to visit? We miss you.


  1. I keep finding a new favorite service post! This is so wonderful!!!

    Great job Hock, my boys will be so excited to come to football camp. We loved your KAM float moments! You are amazing.

  2. I want my girls to be a part of the football camp. They will love it!

    This post wins the best photo award! Awesome photo shop work on that Football camp flyer.