by Matthew Dewald
Chicagoan Tim Finnigan ’90 wrote to tell us how a homework assignment for his 8-year-old daughter Caroline turned into “another example of why the University of Dayton is such a special place.”
Her assignment was to write what she wanted to be when she grew up. Caroline, who loves soccer and is the daughter of two UD grads, wrote: “I want to play soccer for the University of Dayton.” When Tim found out UD would play against Northwestern in nearby Evanston, Ill., at the end of August, he dropped head coach Mike Tucker an email asking if his three girls could meet the players, and Tucker wrote back with a definite yes, adding, “Thanks for raising a future Flyer!”
Here’s the rest of Tim’s story:
When the day of the game arrived, I had an idea that this could be a special experience for my girls but not to the extent that it did. We got to the field right before the UD bus pulled up and coach Tucker met us and had us go sit with the team. The UD team couldn’t have been nicer and more friendly. They started off by signing autographs. The highpoint for my daughters was when Josie Grant and Colleen Williams started asking them questions and making them feel special. Right then my girls had their favorite players. When Colleen and Josie found out me and my wife met at UD they started asking us questions. Obviously, the first one was “What street did you live on?” We talked about the changes to the campus since we graduated. I will tell you what hasn’t changed — the quality of students that attend UD. I was impressed with the team and how they acted.
It was a fantastic game with UD winning in OT. When the game ended, my daughters ran across the field to join the celebration with the team high fiving Caroline and her two sisters, Ellie and Clare, then letting them run with them back across the field to thank the fans. I happened to capture a photo with Josie waving goodbye to my daughters. All three had smiles from ear to ear.
On our way home I told my girls that if they are ever in a position when they are older and little kids look up to them to act just like Josie and Colleen. I don’t know if coach Tucker and the UD soccer team know that they made three girls feel special and a couple of UD grads feel like they were great parents, so thank you to the University of Dayton soccer team.