Saturday, October 17, 2009

Many Like Him Would Have Quit Long Before

This post is the first one for this season. It was written 9.5 hours prior to kickoff of B's senior football season.

Friday Night Lights 2009 Season Preview:

Seemingly, many like him would have quit long before he even got to this point. B has loved to play sports since he was little- very little. Basketball was played with a cheap cardboard hoop as soon as he could stand. Once he was able to run- toddler style, he would run from one end of our 600 square foot apartment to the next saying in a long drawn out voice—SHHHAAAWWWNNNNN KKKKEEEEMMMMPPP….. And then slam the ball through the hoop. His dad petitioned the YMCA when he was three, telling the director—“I know he’s short for 3 years old, but I guarantee you he can out play all of the 4 years old.” He was permitted on the basketball team. He began playing football at age 4. His competition (brother) was 2. They both received oversized football uniforms for Christmas. B- the dolphins, Y –the 49ers. B ate Milky Way candy bars -note the colors, Y ate Twix. (You see how his mind worked!) Most of the early football competitions were played in the living room. Y cried often. B learned he had to let his brother enjoy some time on the top of the tackle if he was to keep him interested in continuing the “game”. As spring came, the games were moved to the backyard. B would enlist as many neighborhood kids as he could find, who were 4 to play with him. (He usually had to settle for the neighbors who were 2 and 3).
Many springs and seasons have passed since then. Most of those seasons finished with very little playing time in football, basketball, or baseball. He was short—and shy, apparently not the best combination for star athletes in our town. Through the years, basketball has always been his favorite sport. Last spring, after yet another disappointing basketball season, he amped up his training for speed, agility, strength and quickness. He loved the work. He loved the challenge.
Spring football brought with it an excitement in a sport he had always considered his second favorite. I could hear the energy in his voice and see the excitement in his eyes after he returned home from practice. He would restlessly bop around the house. At my plea to settle down a bit, he replied “I just want to go back to practice.” He poured himself into his workouts all summer. Flexing became a past time that he ironically could do while eating dinner, playing cards, or reading scriptures. The kid was happy. As a mom, I delighted in seeing him so content. Tonight he begins his senior football season. He goes in as a no name, flying way beneath anyone’s radar. Friday Night Lights kicks off in 9.5 hours. I wonder what the story will be….

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