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A roundup of news on sporting events, people and places in Southeast Michigan by columnist Jim Evans.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Taking care of the homefront

Danny and Lindsay sitting in a tree; K-I-S-S-I-N-G; First came love …
All right, so there is a variation on that old school yard song.
Danny Gough, a former Marine, is at home in Clawson with their three kids; Dylan, Isaiah and Brennan.
Danny’s wife, Lindsay, a Navy veteran, is in Kabul, Afghanistan.
The old school yard song meets the reality of 2012.
“It’s hard, but we will get through it,” said Danny Gough. “Most of the time, when I start complaining, it is about laundry. Our daughter, Brennan, wears more clothes than is humanly possible.”
With that, he started laughing. Brennan, who is four years old, was playing with her two brothers in the city park in Clawson earlier this week.  Dylan is eight. Isaiah is 5.
Danny Gough is a great Father’s Day story.
Lindsay was deployed to Afghanistan on Christmas Eve 2011.
Danny and Lindsay met on his 19th birthday. He was stationed in Hawaii and Lindsay, who grew up in Hawaii, was walking by him on the street in Waikiki. He was already in the Marines, and she would soon join the Navy. Deployments and the warm and fuzzy nuclear family unit don’t always hold hands.
Danny and Lindsay were friends for three years before things evolved into a relationship.
Danny Gough grew up in Clawson. He played all the youth sports in his hometown, and eventually played football, basketball and ran track at Clawson High School.
Two months after he graduated, he was in the Marines.
“I’m from a family of Marines,” said Danny Gough. “I have a couple of uncles who were in the Marines and I always looked up to them. I wanted to be a Marine since I was little.”
Eight years in the Corps, and now he is commanding a battalion of three. Danny and Lindsay’s youngest, Wyatt, died of Sudden Unexpected Death Syndrome when he was 13 months old.
“Wyatt was always very healthy, and then he died in his sleep. It was hard to understand then, and it is still very hard,” said Danny Gough.
Difficulties come at different levels. Day to day routines can be hard, too. During the school year, it’s up at 6:30 a.m. That begins the daily cereal controversy. Frosted Mini Wheats or Cinnamon Toast Crunch? Cheerios or Captain Crunch? Count Chocula or Rice Chex?
“I never have the right cereal,” said Danny Gough, smiling. “Whatever cereal they want isn’t the cereal we have.”
Dad gets Dylan to Schalm Elementary School. Isaiah and Brennan both were in the early childhood/preschool program a few hours a day.
Dad gets the kids to school. He volunteers in their classrooms. He goes on field trips.
When the school day ends, practice begins. There’s soccer and football. There’s basketball and baseball. There are the kids on the field and dad on the sidelines.
Dad is also a coach. This fall he’ll be handling the varsity team for the Clawson Mavericks youth football organization.
Get ‘em to school. Get ‘em to practice. Get ‘em to bed. Then hit rewind.
“You know, the same reasons why you might not like your hometown when you’re younger are exactly why you love it as you get older,” said Danny Gough. “Everybody knows everybody else. Everybody knows your business. The school secretary always told my mom what I did in school because she always walked by our house.
“Well, it drove me crazy when I was younger, but now I find comfort in it. I still see people I played sports with all of the time. I can’t go anywhere without running into some of my football players from the Mavericks. I’ll get calls if they aren’t doing well in school from their parents asking if I can talk to them,” he said.
“I miss my wife every day,” he said. “We are husband and wife. We are partners. When we are together, we go to school functions together. We go to games together. If I’m coaching and I turn around and look in the stands and she’s not there, I miss her even more.”
Lindsay Gough will be home for three weeks in July. She could be coming home for good in January.
Mom’s busy defending our freedom. Dad’s busy taking care of the home front. Happy Father’s Day, Danny. Happy belated Mother’s Dad, Lindsay.


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