It's been a pretty special season of Pop Warner football so far. Our team is crazy-good...creating the "up and comers" for Sheldon's district domination of football (and sometimes state too). There are obviously the pros and cons for playing on a tough football team, pros dominating the cons for sure....but given Brayden's size, he's obviously a bit of an underdog when playing amongst such elite. That doesn't stop him from trying though, much less believing he can play with the "big dogs" - and even assume some of the higher profile positions.
One of the major pros is that when we are so strong, it can often lead to a lopsided score which Pop Warner frowns upon getting too out of hand by creating a 35 point mercy rule. If we outscore a team by more than that, our coach is suspended for the next game....which would NOT be good. It's during these scenarios that Brayden gets his shot at playing the positions you wouldn't normally assume he'd have...like running back.
This happened at the last normal game of the season, and bless our coach's hearts, but they kept calling plays in which Brayden would take the hand-off. He gave us some pretty good jukes and spins, but just wasn't getting a lot of yardage.
Finally, the field opened up and he got some distance...and it was a glorious run and the crowd cheered.......woo hoo!
Because of that persistence, Brayden was the honored with the title of "Game Captain" (one of three) for the first play-off game. We've really been emphasizing to Brayden to give every play his "100%" so it was such a tangible expression of reward for him doing just that.
Fast forward to our first play-off game, this last Sunday. As always, John was on the sidelines with his camera and this time, Michael Chase joined him. (Kenjon arrived for the second half, bummer that his missed this, but hey, you gotta love that church comes first for him!) Mom and Dad and Travis and Stephanie were in the stands (Leona was at an antique convention). We'd done some pretty significant scoring as a team and after one of the touchdowns, they lined up for the point after....and at this point, I'll let the pictures do the talking........
THATTA BOY BRAYDEN!!!!!!!!! That's our #8 - and while we've been proud of his efforts throughout the season, this is just such a treat and you can't imagine the grins in the bleachers of all of us, so proud.
This coming weekend, we play the team that was so ugly last time we played. We beat them, and they have a vengeance against us (as if they didn't already). One couple arrived early on Sunday for their team's play-off game that would take place after ours - and she flat-out announced to all of us, "We don't like you guys". Nice......Yup....that's just the sort of positivity and people skills that epitomizes my view of most of the team (at least the pre-dominant attitude).
No matter the outcome of this upcoming shoot-out, both teams will be able to play at Autzen - for either the Division 1 State Championship (if we win) or Division 2 State Championship (if we lose). These upcoming teams are huge (where-as, based on individual player's size alone, we are not that big), so it's doubtful Brayden will get any opportunities for "spectacular play". That's okay, we expect him to give it his all, even if it's just fulfilling his 14 Minimum Play Requirements (MPR's). It's been quite a year already, and we are very pleased - no matter what happens!