Monday, September 6, 2010

Dream Big

Today dreams came true.  From the sideline of a junior football field I witnessed a pivotal moment in my son's life.  I watched him walk onto that field, dressed in his game day uniform, and live his dream.

To understand how monumental today was for him, you would have to had been around for his first two seasons of playing junior football.  My Sports Fanatic loves this game.  He has parked himself in front of the television every Sunday afternoon during season since discovering football existed.  Two years ago, on his first day of playing football, my little 7 year old had big dreams.  Every kid wants to run the ball, be the quarterback, make the tackles.   My Sports Fanatic was no different.  You can imagine his disappointment when he played "on the line" (translation: dance with the guy in front of you so your quarterback can get the play off without being tackled...) that first season.  He was a bigger 7 year old.  Big kids play on the line.  They are strong, they take up more space.  He did what he was told and he held his own.  And at the end of that first season he even made some great tackles on defense.  He showed moments of brilliance.  He played almost every play of every game that year.  He had a good season.

But my little guy still had big dreams.  And every Sunday, watching NFL Football,  he imagined he was a quarterback, passing himself this little foam football in the living room.  It actually drove me crazy, having him bounce all over the room talking to himself, tossing this ball in the air and "running" to catch it.  How could anyone concentrate on the games when "Johnny Football" was bouncing off the walls making noise?  His passion was endearing, but the commotion was not.  Still, no matter how many times I nagged him to "cut it out!" he persisted. Toss, run, diving catch....toss, run, diving catch...every Sunday from 1pm until about 6pm.  Eventually we became immune to the craziness and didn't hear it anymore.

My Sports Fanatic moved up a division that next fall.  Now 8, he was a younger kid on the team.  No longer considered "big", he was lucky to get five minutes on that field each game.  Hubby and I would stand on the sideline, from the scorching hot games in early September to the frigid nights in the end of October, just waiting to see him run onto that field.  Then we would watch as he would run out and play two minutes before a sub tapped him out again.  Still, we were proud, and so was he.  He wanted his team to win and do well.  That's the kind of kid he is.  Yet, every night that season, when we would talk about his games, he told me about his dreams.  He talked about being that quarterback.  "Mom, I just want it SOOOO bad...." He would squint his big green eyes and stress every syllable.  My heart broke for him.  As his mom, I wished for him to have what he wanted.  Don't we all wish that for our kids?

At the end of that season Hubby decided he would assistant coach the following year.  This was a good thing, because even though we are bogged down with activities and commitments, this would help the Sports Fanatic get his chance.  I knew it was a long shot regardless.  This is a kid who had never run with the ball, not once, on that field.  He is not the fastest, not the most agile.  But he has heart, and he works hard.

That winter we put him in a 4 week quarterback camp.  When the weather warmed up he started jogging with me at the track.  Hubby worked him in the yard every night until it was dark.  And when he got grumpy and wanted to quit, we reminded him of his big dreams.

Now despite the fact that he isn't fast as lightening or the most natural runner, he has always had a great arm.   But in a league of 8 and 9 year olds, there isn't much of a "passing game".  Still, with Hubby assistant coaching, we knew our Sports Fanatic would at least get an opportunity to try out for quarterback.  And that is all most people will ever get in life if they are lucky.  It's what you do with that opportunity that matters. 

Soon it was August, and football season began.  Our Sports Fanatic was given his chance.  He came out with his guns blazing.  He worked hard.  He wasn't the same kid as the previous years.  He was confident, stronger, more knowledgeable.  He knew what he had to do, and he did it.  And every weeknight in August he busted his butt in ninety degree temperatures with the rest of his team.  His commitment was, and still is, inspiring.

The team was coming together nicely, and regardless of my Sports Fanatic winning that starting quarterback position, he was excited for the season to begin.  As always, he wanted his team to do well, because that's the kind of kid he is.  But every night after practice, when the kids were in bed, I would quiz Hubby.  "How did he do at practice? Do you think he'll be the starting quarterback?"  I knew if he lost that position it would break his little heart.  And his heartaches are my heartaches. 

But today, in my son's 3rd season of junior football, he got to run onto that field as starting quarterback.  I watched from that sideline as a dream became reality.  And he played one hell of a game. 

It's amazing what our kids can teach us.  Dream Big.  Anything is possible. 
DREAM BIG (Author Unknown)

If there were ever a time to dare,

To make a difference

To embark on something worth doing,

It is now.

Not for any grand cause necessarily...

But for something that tugs at your heart.

Something that is worth your aspiration.

Something that is your dream.

You owe it to yourself

to make your days here count.

Have fun.

Dig Deep.

Stretch.

Dream Big

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