Monday, October 21, 2013

When A Great Kid Bites the Dust

Well, you sorta need to live in a football-crazed town to understand this.

It happens that I do.

We're not as rabid as Texas, but we're close.  I live within a half a mile of Boise State.  Between Boise State and my friend, Larry, I admit I've come to like college football games.  And those are more fun when you win.  Larry is an avid fan, one of those rare guys that understands the whole shebang.  He has a whole lotta 'splainin to do where I'm concerned.

I'm not a fan of those big blow-outs, and we've lived through some of those.  I'm a simple-minded fan, like high scoring games, games where everybody gets home with their dignity and their digits intact.  My idea of a contact sport is doubles ice dancing.  So I'm a prissy sort of whimpy sort of auntie, who'd rather make chocolate chip cookies, most of the time, and spoil the local kids rotten.

Our quarterback broke his ankle, fell on it, rolled over it, had it stomped on.  Don't know for sure.
What I did see was a student who was frantic and out-of-your mind frustrated with that event.  You know how horses get this wild-eyed, head-twisting, need to escape when those babies are terrified.  That was the look Joe had as he hopped, on canes, toward the locker room.

I felt so bad for him.  His senior year.  Any hopes of NFL play, dashed.  The big plans he had for this year.  Gone.   Stunning to lose all of that in a minute, and to have a completely uncharted future in the time it takes to snap your fingers.  Can you imagine the adrenaline coursing through that kid's veins at that moment?

Here's what I hope for Joe:  that he relishes the time he had as quarterback and realizes that he had a great gift that few kids get; the he buckles down with his studies and charts out a newer future, one that requires the grit and fire football required of him, maybe art, maybe quantum physics, maybe history; that he listens to his mom and dad, his friends, and maybe a girl friend who will reassure him that he is still loved and respected, grandly.

The new kid, Grant, stepped up and did a magnificent job.  He'll get the spotlight for awhile now.
Football has some really tough lessons attached to it.  Hope those kids remember that, at base, it's still a game.


  1. I hope Joe has an wise and caring aunt like you :-)

  2. Joe will be fine. Sports, for most athletes, is filled with those moments that "might have been," — the catch that slipped off the receiver's fingers, the pass just slightly overthrown, the tackle not made, the block not finished. You learn to get back in the huddle, listen to the call, and line up again. Failure and the chance for redemption are good lessons to learn and the average football player learns them many times in a single game. That's the thing: most players aren't NFL caliber. They're average, the mean ability that consigns them to the "average" group increasing as one moves up the chain from Pop Warner to high school to college. Joe Southwick may have lost the chance to play in a few games, but that's all. The rest of the lessons learned are his to keep.

    1. Thanks. I like that. Ours too. For that matter. B.