Wednesday, October 06, 2010
INTERCEPTION! Yeah baby!!! Talk about an exciting thing to watch for Mom, Dad, Grandpa, Grandma, Grandma, and Travis from the sidelines!
So, I need to confess that this football season has really turned into a much more positive experience than I ever expected it would be. (I like it when that happens in life!). Brayden made it very clear when he declared he was going to play football that he knew he was going to have to work very, very hard. And, even if he put his "all" into practices - there were no guarantees that he'd get anything more than the 14 minimum plays that Pop Warner requires. Because, after all, even if Brayden showed up 45 minutes early for every practice, had all of his routes down pat, and picked up his speed during the conditioning time (which he's done) - he would still be a "little kid" on a very talented team.
And yet, Brayden has already played more this season during games than the last two seasons combined. (A contrast to everything we anticipated going into this season with this coach). I started out believing he went in with the "first-team offense" because that's usually when they play the kids who need to get their MPR's (then, they can bench them after they've done their 14 plays - what we've been used to for the past two years). But, then Brayden would stay in - and play additional positions. After that, I figured the coach was just being generous because the team was so far ahead. Well, there may be a partial truth to that - we've virtually demolished the score on every game we've played - reaching the point of preventing our own scores to abide by the 35 point "mercy rule". But, I think there's something more to it all. When I mentioned the whole thing to Travis on the sidelines as we were witnessing him taking some the ball for some running plays - Travis' explanation was simple. "You've seen the movie, Rudy? That's Rudy...." and then he quoted a line from the movie about the coach wishing every kid on the team had as much heart as Rudy had.
Heart - yup, Brayden has it. I'm realizing that more and more as he gets older. As he calls me when he's about to walk home from school, reaching me on my cell phone as I've just completed my time of subbing, he's not content to hear that the day went well. He's asking details, because he cares - he genuinely is excited to hear if his mom had a great day at work and why. (Is this kid gonna make a great husband someday or what? - Oh, wait - then there's the way he treats his sister......hmmmm - the verdict is still out!!). And, I'm also realizing the Brayden is capable of more than I've given him credit for. This whole middle school thing.....responsibility thing? There's been this feeling that if I'm not around to remind him, to look out for him, well, who knows what kind of a disarray everything would end up being? And yet, on the days I leave early, he manages to leave the house at the right time (or even 20 minutes early) - with the house locked, the dog put out, and everything packed in his backpack. So far, the homework seems to be getting done and turned in. And that kid that was coming in third from the last when the kids on the football team were running sprints at the end of practice? Well, the other day, he came in first on one of them (a major goal John had set before him - one I thought was unattainable, and found myself a little irritated at John for pushing him too hard, but instead he rose to the occasion). Unlike his mama - who was always so intrinsically motivated, and crumbled whenever additional goals were set before her, Brayden seems to thrive on these additional goals.
And, too bad one of those goals (with a reward) wasn't an interception. Brayden has been playing largely offense and special teams this year, so we didn't really anticipate the opportunity. But, sure enough - the head coach called Brayden in for just one defensive down towards the end of the game. And what do you know, but the other team decided to pass....right to where Brayden was playing "safety". He caught the pass, ran several yards and then got tackled, about three yards from making a touchdown....(too bad on that one, but at that point, there was no point putting a nail in the coffin for the other team....remember, Brayden has heart!).
No, it wasn't a true "Rudy" moment, there were no tears or anything on the sidelines. But, man, we were all so excited. And the coaches were so happy for him too - which made me so much more happy, because their belief in him - and desire for him to do good - meant even more to me than the "pick" itself. It's always a good thing to have your low expectations exceeded.....