Published: February 10, 2014
Had the weather cooperated last week, chances are Travis Gordon might have signed his national letter of intent at Palmer without a key member of his family there to watch.
Thankfully, by Monday, a sense of normalcy returned to area schools despite a bite of unseasonably cold air that took hold over the region.
And that was quite significant to Gordon. That meant his mom, Stefeni, and dad, Andre, both could stand behind their son as the versatile athlete signed his letter to play football at Colorado State-Pueblo.
On Friday, that wouldn't have been the case. Andre spent that day undergoing his first infusion treatment in his battle against blood cancer.
"It means a lot to have my family here," said Travis, who starred on both sides of the ball last season at Palmer, rushing for 827 yards to go with two interceptions and solid play on special teams. "I want to show him that I'm going to go out and play my heart out. I'm hoping he'll get through it, and just having him able to watch my games means a lot."
Gordon took his spot at the signing table, joined by football teammate Grant Matthews (South Dakota School of Mines), girls' soccer athletes Brianna Brown (Prairie View A&M), Kendra Cook (University of Mary, N.D.) and Madison Wiegand-Brown (Oregon).
For Wiegand-Brown, a torn knee ligament after her sophomore season temporarily put her college dreams on the skids. The defender, affectionately known as "Mad Dog" for her intensity on the field, had previously qualified for the 5A state track and field meet in the 400 meters.
She'll return to the pitch, and track, later this spring. In the meantime, she still managed to secure a scholarship to a Pac-12 school.
"Since I was a kid, I knew I was going to play college soccer," Wiegand-Brown said. "I stuck through it, and it worked out. It's great to have my friends here to support me, to see what I do. I'm excited. It's a new beginning."
That's an understatement for Gordon, who endured his share of struggles for a football team that went 2-18 in his two seasons there, his first chopped in half after transferring from Wasson. Conversely, the ThunderWolves ended the 2013 season on a 37-game regular-season winning streak.
If putting up from disparaging comments from his own student body weren't enough, Gordon then learned that any setbacks on the field had taken a back seat after his dad was diagnosed with a form of lymphoma.
"We went through our struggles, but my team had my back," Gordon said. "I didn't mind what people said. I just went out and played football. That's what I love to do."
And by Monday, Andre appeared energized, practically thanking Mother Nature for a little extra time.
"Friday wasn't a good day to be here," said Andre, who spent 16 years in the Air Force before his illness led to an early retirement from the military. "I'm getting better, but I'm really glad it worked out for Travis. I'm proud of him. He wanted to go to CSU-Pueblo all along, and it looks like that's where he's going to go."