When Jan Marconi cheers on her grandsons Joe and JD Marconi Saturday at the Glenbard West and Wheaton North quarter-final game, she will cheer knowing one of the boys will end the day with a heavy heart.
Joe Marconi, plays for Glenbard West and his cousin JD Marconi plays for Wheaton North. The game at 1 p.m. Saturday will be the first time in high school play that the boys have met each other on the field.
One of the cousins will walk away the victor, because as George Marconi, Joe’s dad, said, “There are no tie scores in football.”
The cousins, who were born five days apart, are the grandson’s of the late Joe Marconi, who played on the team of the 1963 Championship Chicago Bears.
Though they never knew their grandfather, who died 20 years ago, they dedicated their final high school football season to their grandfather, George Marconi said. JD wears his grandfather’s number, No. 34 and Joe Marconi wears a medallion that belonged to his grandfather.
“They only know the stories that have been passed down,” George Marconi said. “He will be there in spirit. Both of the boys for the longest time have said they would work toward this goal of playing against each other in high school and dedicate the season for their grandfather.”
George Marconi said he isn’t betting on who will win or lose, ‘There’s no betting; just a lot of pride in both of them,” he said.
“They’ve been playing against each other for a number of years going back to the youth football days when Joey played for the Glen Ellyn Golden Eagles and JD played on the Wheaton Rams. This is the first time they are playing against each other in high school,” he said. “… I’ve always considered JD my fourth son, he has no brothers, just sisters, he would come over on Friday and we’d drop him off the next Friday. They have always been together, hung out together, they are tight and good friends.”
Jan Marconi will be supporting both teams and won’t be wearing team colors, George said. His mother will be wearing a gray hoodie that was made special for the game and “jazzed up” to include both of the boy’s numbers, both team names and will also include the pins she’s always worn that feature the boy’s faces, George Marconi said.
“By having no color, she’s not showing any favoritism,” he said. She will be dressed in black, white and gray.
Jan Marconi plans to sit in the end zone with George Marconi’s oldest daughter Corrine and JD’s sister Katie.
Until this game, Jan Marconi was able to cheer for the individual teams because Wheaton North plays on Friday night and, when possible, she attended the games at Glenbard West, which are played on Saturday, George Marconi said.
“She’s very excited, she knows one [grandson] will be sad,” George Marconi said. “The one grandson that loses will be sad. She feels it will be tough.”
But, she also realizes she needs to be happy for the grandson who wins, he said.
“It’s gonna be a very tough. We [Glenbard West] are 11-0 and they [Wheaton North] are 10-1. West is more of a running team, North is more of a passing team. I think it’s gonna be a very tough game.”