Before Mass started yesterday, an old friend came in the opposite side of our pew to speak to my parents. I smiled and put my hand up to say hello and she responded then sat down next to my mom and spoke for a few minutes to she and my dad. Seeing her reminded me of all the wonderful times we had together as kids. There were six of them who matched up almost perfectly with our oldest six. Her younger sister and I were practically inseparable until we went to different high schools. But the thing I remember most about Kathy was her passion for winning especially during a simple, friendly (haha) game of croquet. You know, croquet is one of those games that takes a little time to set up properly but she didn't seem to mind as long as we would play for several days in a row, or until the grass had to be cut. We all had our favorite colors we wanted but Maureen and I often had to settle after the older ones had their pick. Then, it was game on and there was no mercy. For some reason, I feared Kathy the most. If she was anywhere close to another ball, she would make the hit and send that sucker for a buggy ride every time even if the choice of 2 strokes could give her a better advantage. She loved clearing the field of all the possible other challengers. Today, I know she is still a fierce competitor. I know she runs marathons and I've seen pictures of her participating in the Ironman Triathlon. I believe she has her pilot's license and she coaches amazing cross country teams and she's brilliant. Who knew the possibilities that a simple game from our youth could pass on and be used in our adult lives? Healthy competition, rules to follow, toughness, intelligence, perseverance. During our youth, we looked up to these older siblings. We watched and we paid attention and we followed. We were fortunate and when I saw my old neighbor at Mass, I remembered instantly all the good that has been handed down.