Yes, sometimes when you make a plan, you have to course correct. I am sure this isn’t something that happens to you, right? LOL Well today is one of those days. See I have 90 minutes before I have to leave for my son’s football game – a very special game as it is Senior Night. But I still need to get my workout in. I have been worried about it most of the day and I finally decided – course correct. Basically, the world is NOT going to stop turning if I don’t get my workout in today but I can say that if I am late for my son’s game tonight in which he is being honored for 12 years of playing football – all HELL will break loose. And I would never put that on the line. So even in all my rushing to get home as early as I could and to get to the gym – I just decided a half-assed workout wasn’t worth it today.
Instead, I am going to relax and share my anxiety with you all…. and take a break. Enjoy this moment today. Let me share a little of what the past 12 years have been like watching my only son grow into a leader on and off the field.
I will never forget the day that I found out I was pregnant. For 2 months I have chalked up the nausea and exhaustion to being a full time college student and a person who has holding down 2 part time jobs. Nate and I had lived together as an engaged couple for almost 2 years and had been dating since we were 16 in high school. But neither of us would have said that having a baby at that time was ideal. We decided to keep the sex of the baby secrete and didn’t find out until that moment in the operating room when the surgeon said, “Its a boy!”
WOW – I hate to say it by my first thought is he is gonna be a football player. Nate was a good football player in high school and had several colleges interested in him. I was a pretty good basketball player and had several colleges interested in me. However, we both made the decision to stay together in college and gave up our dream of playing college sports. Then three years later we got married and Jeff comes along. We were only 20, very young and still in college – so we made the very tough decision to move back in with Nate’s parents. Best decision we could have made!
When Jeff was born he was almost 10 pounds and 23 inches in length – to say he was a big baby is an understatement – he came home in 3m baby clothes and all of infant clothes went back. He has stayed that way on ever growth chart since then…. and now as a 17 year old high school senior stands 6′ 3″ and 275 pounds. He is a solid brick wall.
He started playing football in the first grade. One of the other mom’s told us about the pee wee league and said that her son was going to sign up. Since her son and Jeff were good buddies, we decided to do the same. This was a new world for us – Nate didn’t play pee wee and several of our family members were afraid that we had started him too early. Full pads, helmets, tackling – it could be overwhelming for a 6 year old. But we decided to see how Jeff did – and from the very beginning he was a natural.
In the 12 seasons since he began we have had seasons where his team went undefeated and seasons where the team only scored 2 touchdowns. We have seen Jeff move from Guard to Center to Nose Guard and Defensive Tackle. The last three seasons he as started both ways and this season he is one of the captains. We have gone all the way to the State Championship game in 2011, which was the first and only time in school history. We didn’t win, but man was that season a ride – 14-1 is something that many players never see and for Jeff to be a part of it his sophomore year is pretty amazing. His junior year, he was hurt in the third game of the season and struggled for the first time to get back on the field. It was a knee injury that has required him to wear a brace since then and probably anytime he plays in a contact sport for the rest of his life. He was able to work his way back that season but in the second round of the playoffs he was taken out in the first quarter and left a big hold (both figuratively and literally). Between his junior and senior year, Jeff decided to take a look at overall health and nutrition. From January to April of his Junior year he lost 40 pounds and grew and inch and everything about him grew up. He has gotten stronger, faster and more competitive.
This season was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the team. See there are only 5 seniors on the team and only 2 of them were starters last year. One of the seniors has never played before. However, this is Week 9 and we are 8-0. It has been a great surprise to everyone that the team has pulled together and some of the players that were not stand out players last year and worked hard in the off season and stepped up. Jeff has been able to stay healthy and strong and continues to lead the line both O and D. There are sophomore and juniors that stepped in and stepped up into KEY players this season. We have one senior that is a first year starter but has become a very strong running back and has several offers from D1 colleges. It is pretty exciting.
I am not sure what the last two games of the season will hold. I pray that we continue to win and that playoffs are in the near future. But whatever the future holds – I have enjoyed every game this past 12 years. I have enjoyed the friendships that have been made with some of the parents in the stands, I have enjoyed watching Nate coach on the sidelines and I have enjoyed watching my son grow into a strong leader. Tonight I will walk on the field with him and honor all that he has learned on that field and all he will carry with him from those lessons into his future.