Sunday, October 2, 2011

He Kicks! He Scores! Victory!


This year has been the first year for Middle School football (school ball).  T has loved it!  He doesn't even mind that we have to get up super early and he has to be at the fieldhouse super early. 

Two and a half weeks ago, one of the dads on the soccer team (who also has a middle school football player) came up to Mr. H and asked why T wasn't the field goal kicker on our 7th grade team.  Mr. H told him that when they had the tryouts T was at the dentist and they never gave him another chance to try.  It's also important to note that T is the only kid on the football team thats played soccer his entire life, non-stop.  T now plays on a Under 14 team as a 12 year old.  T knows how to kick a ball.

This soccer dad, Larry, told us that he'd come get T the next day, Sunday, and take him up to the football field with him and his son, who is one of T's close buddies.  Well, they came and got T and went to the field and T loved it.  He said he did pretty good and it started a fire in him.  He wanted to try to be the kicker. 

The next day on Monday, T asked the coaches if he could tryout for the field goal kicker position and the coaches said they were busy and would let him tryout later.  Well, T asked Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, game time.  The coaches were always busy.

At the game, we didn't even get the ball off the ground hardly, maybe 5 feet and never scored an extra point.  The on side kick was even muffed and the other team got the ball because it wasn't kicked 10 yards.   Granted, I love the kids on the team and the kickers just didn't have kicking experience.  It wasn't their fault.  Once again, our team lost the game.  We were 0-4 this season.

All this time, T had been either riding his bike with his brother and going to the football field and kicking every night.  Every night, even after soccer practice.  He wanted a chance so bad he could hardly stand it.  I was getting so frustrated at the coaches and disappointed that they didn't even give T a chance.

We went into the next week and we had told T just to lay low and not to ask about trying out.  The coaches had told the boys that if they bugged them about playing a position, they would be guaranteed not to play that position.  So Monday came and Tuesday came.  Nothing.

I even let T skip soccer practice on Monday because he just wanted to spend a little more time kicking at the field.  I had told T just to practice for next season since the coaches wouldn't let him do it this season.  I just wanted T to know that if he kept at it and continued to practice, something good would come out of his commitment and perseverance.

Wednesday last week I was at work and my ex-husband called me on my cell.  He never calls during the workday and it scared me so I answered.  His first question was, "Have you talked to T?"
 It terrified me and I said, "No, why??" 
He said, "He's the field goal kicker!"
WHAT??? WHAT????  He exclaimed, "He made it! He's the kicker now!" 
I could have cried I was so happy!
I called my husband and he said T had just texted him and told him, and when I looked in my messages, he had texted me too. I just hadn't seen it yet.
I almost lost it, I was so excited that he got a chance and it worked!
I had told him not to give up and it worked! It really worked!

That night T went to the field and practiced for about 3 hours.  He was so excited and was serious about this chance.  When T got home he told me that he had muffed the first 3 kicks when one of his best friends Hayden yelled from the other side of the field where his 8th grade team was practicing, "Kick it lower!"
T took the advice and made the next 7 tries, totally clearing the uprights.  T remarked that he was stunned that the coaches gave him so many tries to make it.  They also moved one of the good receivers to ball holder and together they were a great team.

I was so thankful for a friend like Hayden who was clearly watching his best buddy try out and was willing to try to give him the advice he needed to make it.

Thursday got here and it was game day.  I felt sick all day long, just praying that if T kicked he would make it. 
We asked T if he was the kickoff person and he said he hadn't tried out for that, so no he wouldn't be doing that.  I was disappointed but just happy he was kicking at some point.

I took off work an hour early to get to the game to watch them warmup.  The boys dad, my friend Jennifer, my hubby, Small Fry and I all sat together on the same row, ready for the game to start.  When it was game time, T started walking on the field and Mr H said, "He's kicking off too!" 
I almost died, at that moment, I could have actually gotten sick from excitement and sheer nerves.  I just wanted this to be me and to take the pressure off of my baby. I knew he would do good though.  He's kicked soccer balls across the soccer field for years.

T lined up and kicked a great one, about 25 yards.  I was so thrilled!  It was the best kickoff, by far, this year and everyone was cheering for Tyler.

The game started and it wasn't 15 minutes before our team made a touchdown!
Uh oh, that meant my baby was going in.
I honestly at that moment remember that everything went quiet for me.  I was so intent on watching!  I did hear people saying, "Come on T!"  It made me proud.
T lined up, went in for the kick.....and it sailed right through the goal. 
It was so pretty!
I jumped up and said, "Whooooo! Alright T!  That's how you do it!  I threw my arms up and was cheering so loud the entire 8th grade team in front of me was looking up at me.  At that moment, I thought my heart was going to burst!  I looked down and saw his buddy L and his dad Larry sitting right down below me and they were smiling so big.  Larry and I pointed at each other like, "We knew it! He did it!"

Everyone was so excited!  All of his family and friends were going crazy!  Not only had he made his first ever goal, it was the only extra points we had made all year!

I saw T walk off the field and all of his teammates were hitting his helmet and patting him on the shoulders.  It was honestly, one of my proudest moments.  I know you aren't supposed to live through your kids, but by golly, I loved it for T.  I knew it gave him so much confidence to do it again.  I just knew he wouldn't be able to wipe the smile off of his face!

A couple of the dads came over to talk to us and congratulate us.  It was amazing. 

The game ended and our team won,  8-6, meaning that T's field goal won the game for us.  He was the reason we had won.  When the boys were walking off of the field, everyone was tellling him, "Good game T!"
Also, when the receiver coach, who is usually T's coach walked off the field, my hubby walked up to him and put his arm around his shoulder and told him, "Thank you, you have made a boy very happy tonight!"  The coach said, "Why didn't he tell us he could kick?  Where has that been all this time?" 
Mr. H told him that he had asked to tryout but just hadn't been pushy enough about it, he guessed.  The coach just laughed and said, "We needed that three weeks ago!"

When the high school football coach came off the field (he is practically related to my hubby, his father is Mr. H's Godfather), the coach said, "Why hasn't he been doing this all along?  We had no idea he could kick like that!"  Coach also told us that all of the coaches had been sitting in the coaches office on Tuesday night when they saw someone kicking a football through the uprights.  They asked who it was and someone said it was T.  Right then, the coaches said he was going to be the kicker.  He was doing good. 

That right there gave me the greated thrill, you see, T didn't even have to tryout.  That's why the coach had given him so many tries.  He knew he could do it.  T just needed to settle down.

Needless to say, I have a 7th grade boy who is on a cloud right now.  He is beyond thrilled with himself and I am the one that hasn't been able to wipe the smile off of my face. 

I now am the Mom of the team kicker and I couldn't be prouder of my guy!!!!