Thursday, August 19, 2010

Friday Nights In The Fall!!!

I choke back tears now thinking back to that day. 11 years ago, the Bears were up big against Nashua. My seven year old bobble-headed son, in a helmet twice his size and thigh pads held up with white athletic tape because his legs were too skinny, just wanted to play safety. I have no idea why safety, but that is what he wanted. Probably because it was “safe.” He wrote it down on the “wish paper” that he handed in to his coach at the beginning of the season. In most games, he would get his 8 plays as offensive end and then sit. And he was happy doing it. But that day, it was HIS wish paper that coach pulled from his pocket. Underwood, go play safety. He had no idea what to do out there but he had a hell of a time watching all the action in front of him. And his father teared up with joy, knowing how big a deal this was for him.

Fast forward eleven years to today as I look at the young man that skinny little safety has become as he prepares for his 11th football season. And I see clearly how this game has shaped his character and helped mold him into the person he is today. You see, there is something within the game of football that just is not there in any other team sport.  You can see it in the pride of a player walking through the school halls on Fridays in his game jersey.  You can feel it on Friday nights, 20 minutes before game time, when 70 plus thunderous, recently deepened voices are counting out jumping jacks with the precision of a military drill team. And you can see it immediately after the game when opponents line up at the 50 yard line in sweat and mud soaked jerseys to shake each others hands after having spent the last 2 hours knocking the snot out of each other. Football can take a scared, shy 7 year old boy with little confidence and in just eleven years turn him into a high school senior who would win the annual team Iron Man competition and be nominated for team captain.

For those parents out there who have spent many a Friday night under the lights, you know exactly what I am talking about. For those of you who have not, my words cannot do the game justice. But I saw this video this morning and I felt compelled to share it. Maybe this will explain those teared up eyes 11 years ago and the tears of pride that will most certainly be choked back time and time again this season. For you Bubba!!!!

1 comment:

  1. I feel what your saying Kenny. Thanks for saying it though. As I tear up with pride watching my boys develop, its good to have a reminder these days don't last forever and that I need to savor these days. Thanks.