A thrill of hope: Lucky kid
Like many kids growing up in the west end of Davenport, I enjoyed playing baseball and football and one day hoped to play in the NFL.
One of two brothers, separated by less than 13 months, raised by a police officer and a nurse, we were neither poor nor wealthy. My Grandma Dietz moved in with us when I was nine. Grandma was the St. Mark Lutheran Church secretary, Sunday school director, and the person who got us all to church every week.
Growing up, I couldn’t imagine anyone closer to God than she was. She did anything that the church needed and freely volunteered the two Koranda boys any time an acolyte or usher didn’t make it to a service for which they were scheduled. I guess I got faith whether I wanted it or not.
As high school approached the talk of college began for my brother and me. I quietly hoped for a football scholarship as $2,000/kid/year was definitely not in the family budget. Hope, faith, some hard work and confidence made a dream come true when I received football and academic scholarships at the University of Northern Iowa. Fortunately, I got to play one year with my brother.
My second and third knee surgeries ended the NFL dream and let me focus on my degree in accounting and finance.
My junior year I discovered the College Hill Lutheran Church and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. With my scholarships gone, College Hill gave me a place to live in exchange for janitorial duties while I got my finances figured out.
Those early years set the tone for my life. My parents gave me confidence and taught me that hopes and dreams were within reach if you worked hard and kept your focus. Grandma Dietz taught us that hope for a better tomorrow was possible if we kept God in our lives. For as long as I can remember faith has found me and blessed me in ways I never deserved. And that always gave me hope.
Pat Koranda lives in Davenport with his partner, Georgia Dugan. Once the pandemic subsides, they look forward to resuming their travel adventures.