And the season starts anew. And just when I finally get on board with his whole collegiate quarterback dream, it gets snatched right out from under him. Athletics are confusing, political and not always chasing individual kids' dreams as much as they are creating a winning team.
My son is a stud of a quarterback. Coaches agree, ‘best quarterback this school has had in 10 years’. But, last Monday, the starting quarterback slot he has been fighting for since the end of the season last year was given to the Senior quarterback; the 2nd string position given to a Sophomore who they will train to be the starting varsity quarterback for the upcoming two years and the 3rd string to a Junior who will be the backup for the starter next year. Essentially scooting my kid out of the QB position all together.
I have no hard feelings against his coaches or the decision they made. They are great at what they do and believe in the potential of their players. But, the fact that a position change decision in a pivotal year in a high school athletes life determines the rest of his future in athletics, bothers me to no end.
But, the real feelings, the depth, come from watching my son let go of a dream he’s had for years and pulled us all into to root for. It’s hard to be a part of that; hard to know how to parent through that; challenging to watch him struggle through learning all new plays only a week before games start, being lost and confused on the field and feeling at the bottom of his game when a week prior he was completely dialed in and pumped.
I feared we might lose him again. Freshman year was so bad. New school, bad coaches, no playing time, slumping into fatigue and depression and palling around with questionable friends. The school changes made last year and the success he had in football and academics were life giving to him. It’s an amazing thing to watch your kid thrive. And, I seriously attribute a lot of that to him fully embodying the quarterback position on and off the field; taking initiative to lead and lead well.
When he found out about his position change, his whole demeanor changed and fear rose up inside me. Taking me back to times spent sulking in his room with little to no drive for anything.
The beauty of the whole thing, though, is that fear didn’t rise up in him. He was deflated, for sure, disappointed, yes. But he has risen above that and chosen to take on his new role with every ounce of effort and positive energy that he has put into football thus far.
His collegiate dream remains intact, it’s just now seen from a different place on the line of scrimmage and combined with a heck of a lot more contact. Cornerback doesn’t have the cool factor that quarterback does, but it can just as easily make or break a game…and adding a little running back action to his resume couldn’t possibly look bad, either. And his determination to prove himself in any position he plays and be the most versatile and talented player he can, will bring him right back to the top of his game in no time at all. And though I cheer for the team as a whole, deep down, I’m cheering for the character inside my son; the collective character inside lots of peoples sons that makes athletics so much more than fields and uniforms and scoreboards.
And that makes me one proud mama. Go Eagles.
(last photo credit: Tom Bennett. I don’t own anything ginormous + white + that can be used a million miles away from the field and still get this type of shot)