He did it.
Some of you might know but for those who don’t, my brother graduated from physical therapy school over the weekend and is now officially Dr. Mitchel McNanna, DPT.
It was an emotional reunion, especially for my mother who hadn’t seen him since before Thanksgiving or me since she moved me into my place down here at the end of July.
Mitch got back to the states from Australia just before my birthday and my parents, along with one of both of my parent’s parents, flew into Arizona last Wednesday.
I was in the school board meeting when my mom sent me a picture with her and my brother and luckily it was toward the end of the schedule because all I wanted to do was be out there.
Eventually, I boarded a plane and landed around lunchtime Friday and couldn’t have gotten off the plane sooner to be greeted by both Mom and Mitch.
My dad soon pulled around the car after I picked up my bag and we went back to the Airbnb where I got to see my Grandma and Nonno again.
Not that I haven’t been enjoying my time down here, but that was easily the best I’ve felt since probably my graduation and the week leading up to that.
It got even better when we all rounded up with the addition of my mom’s cousin from California and her family, and headed down the street to the Cleveland Indians’ spring training facility for a game against the Dodgers that we really barely ended up watching although Mitch and I missed part of the second inning preparing for a quick game of our own.
Right as I had walked through the metal detector, a dude approached me who looked about my age and asked if I was interested in being part of an on-field promotion.
I gave him a look like I was indeed intrigued and he asked if I knew about these things called bubble balls where individuals are basically inside a big bubble with handles on the inside to hold on to and run into things with.
I said something that probably shouldn’t be printed and hastily signed a sheet of paper that for sure had important information on it but I was too excited and didn’t read it if we’re being honest.
I was instructed to wait by the right-field foul pole before first pitch and that was the direction of our seats anyway but Mitch hung back to wait with me for a bit.
Luckily he did because the other participant never showed up so we were now the two about to play in a game where we basically run into each other and then have to kick over the other person’s cone that they started on.
Being from the same genes and spending so much time together growing up didn’t help as we both developed the same game plan after a practice trial to go ahead full steam and take a step to the right at the last second.
We both canceled each other out and neither of us went flying out of position and we both kicked over our opponent’s cone at practically the same time and it was deemed a tie.
We did go under the hood and took a look at the instant replay that my mom’s video provided and neither of us could determine a winner there either so we were fine with splitting the prizes that we ended up giving away since we couldn’t play laser tag in the rest of our time there.
Anyway, the other big thing we worked on before Saturday’s graduation was a speech Mitch was tasked with performing in front of his classmates and the rest of the audience.
He got the news shortly after he was stateside again and I was brought up to speed shortly before I arrived out west and being the editor I am offered my services, free of charge for future reference, to clean up and rearrange some things.
I was glad to and there really weren’t a lot of things because this experience wrote itself and he was so grateful to all of the former strangers that will stay in his heart forever as they’ll forever be linked as doctors from Franklin Pierce University.
It was mainly a surprise to the rest of my family and it was cool to see a little bit of panic for both my parents to get their phones out to record.
He did wonderfully and it was a fitting end to the roller coaster that has been his college career and I was happy to play a minor role in it.
But it was truly all his doing and he has had this vision since he started college and now he’s got it so all he’s gotta do now is pass a simple test and he’s good to go.
Like I said, it was probably one of the best weekends in recent memory and it got even a little bit better when I got a phone call from girls’ basketball coach Anthony Branch while killing time before I parted ways with my kin.
He was just leaving a Texas High School Girls Coaches Association board meeting and he was reaching out to let me know he had nominated me for their sports writer of the year award.
Luckily I was indeed still with my family so I was able to share that with them in real time and I’d say it was the icing on the cake for lack of a better term.
It was truly amazing to watch my big brother and role model stand behind that podium and deliver a speech before walking across that stage with a fake diploma inside the folder and an extra hood around his neck signifying he was done with this part of his journey to his goal.
I’ve seen the struggles and I’ve seen the triumphs and I can’t wait to see even more and brag about how my brother is a doctor so sorry for that in advance.
Family, some baseball and a great achievement made for an amazing celebration and one we’ll never forget.
Dr. McNanna’s got a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?