WAXAHACHIE – There are approximately 45,140 seats in McLane Stadium on the campus of Baylor University in Waco and most are filled with rowdy football fans during home games in the fall.
On Oct 15, however, there will be four seats reserved for a particular attendee and his three daughters.
While eating lunch at Olive Garden with two-of-his-own-three Baylor graduates, Curtis Regan had one of his biggest dreams fulfilled. No, it was not a return of the restaurant’s “endless soup and breadsticks” that sent tears briefly trickling behind the reading glasses of the 92-year-old Brookdale Waxahachie resident.
Three members of the Brookdale staff presented Regan, who is otherwise stoic, with four tickets and sideline passes courtesy of Baylor Athletics to the Bears’ Oct. 15 Homecoming game against the Kansas Jayhawks at McLane Stadium.
“I just adore Mr. Regan and his family,” said Megan Sims, Brookdale Waxahachie sales manager and coordinator of the surprise gift. “The way they care for each other, it is really something that I just hope me and my kids have in the future.”
The idea behind the tickets first surfaced when the assisted living community began to research which of its residents could qualify for a “Wish of a Lifetime.” Wish of a Lifetime is an organization with a mission to fulfill the dreams of seniors and share their stories.
Sims said that when she learned of Regan’s desire to visit McLane and cheer on the Bears, she called an audible and took a quicker route to fulfillment.
With a new plan in mind, she contacted the mother of 2014 Waxahachie graduate and current Baylor offensive lineman Patrick Lawrence. Sims said that Gina Lawrence, mother of the 6-foot-6 and 310-pound Baylor sophomore, then reached out to one of the university’s coach’s assistants who then contacted Brookdale.
“We received the confirmation on Friday,” Sims said. “I was so excited last night that I had trouble sleeping.”
As Brookdale Executive Director Donna Purvis and Program Director Debbie Hannan shared time with their six-year resident, Reagan’s daughter Kathy Dickson looked on with a smile.
“We are thrilled for our dad to be able to do this,” Dickinson said. “We are thankful for all of our special friends at Brookdale.”
If the opportunity to visit a stadium on his bucket list weren't already enough, the game would be played two days after Regan’s 93rd birthday and on Kathy’s.
“I’ve seen it from the outside, but never from the inside,” said Regan of the stadium dedicated in 2013 in honor of Drayton McLane, Jr., a 1958 Baylor graduate.
For Regan, that will all change when he and his daughters – Kathy, Emily Keale and Pam Drumm – make their October trip down I-35 to cheer on Baylor Bears.
Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith