Community members said Joseph Dauterive never missed his son and stepsons’ games. But that pattern changed last year when he was sent to serve for his country overseas.
When Dauterive found out that he would be coming home in time for his boys’ last football game, he knew he wanted to do something special.
The Dauterives are a football family. When Joseph was deployed to Afghanistan it took him away from a very important season.
“He would talk to me on the phone and was a little upset that I wasn’t going to be there for his first season of tackle football,” Dauterive said.
Instead of teaching the boys how to tackle, Dauterive was in Afghanistan, serving his country halfway across the world.
Saturday is the last game of the season.
“I figured if they can’t see me, I can’t see them,” Dauterive said.
Now, he’s playing his own game.
“I’m scared and nervous and excited all at once,” he said.
His little game was a big secret and it was one that wasn’t easy to keep since Dauterive got home on Thursday.
“I’m glad they had school the next day, otherwise I probably would have blown it,” said Nicole Dauterive.
“I was afraid something might get leaked,” said Coach Jeff Nardini.
“I’m doing my best not to get too emotional right now, but I miss them and I love them with all my heart,” Dauterive said.
He’s been looking forward to this moment of surprise since he thought of the idea.
“I don’t care if you win or lose, I just came to see you play,” he said.
The game hasn’t started yet, but Dauterive already feels like a winner.
It was a big day on the field and off the field.
After 306 days of deployment, the Dauterives are finally watching their favorite sport together.
The boys wrapped up their football seasons on Saturday. The fourth grade team lost in a close game, 13-14. The third graders won their game 18-6.