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Stalked by the Stork...a diary of raising twelve kids

Having twelve children is an amazing blessing and one heck of a crazy ride. Join us through all the joys, smiles, tribulations and trials as we navigate this fabulous journey!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Brandon's Heart

Today Brandon played the toughest football game of his little two season career. His team played Fairview Heights and was severely out sized, and out matched. Brandon, who plays on the D-line, was matched against a kid who was, I kid you not, the same size as Albert. I don't like to make accusations, but lets just say, there is no way in heck that kid was 9-10. He weighed well, well over 200 pounds. The field was wet, muddy and full of large puddles due to the rainfall of the last few days. The folks in charge had tried to pump out as much of the water as possible and put hay over some of the largest of the puddles, but these attempts were largely in vain. Mud and water were everywhere.
Brandon was scared, to say the least, when he say the player he'd be up against. In fact, on the first play, Brandon actually ran the other way, away from big #67. Albert charged over to the sidelines and gave Brandon a nice (okay not so nice), firm, serious talk about playing with heart (regardless of the hopelessness of the situation) obligation, and responsibility. Brandon must have really taken what his Dad said seriously because he never gave up again. Although he ended nearly ever play thereafter with his face in the mud and was hurt on most plays, he kept getting up and returning to the line, ready for another snap (and in this case, I mean snap in more than one way). Over the course of the game, as he would come to the sidelines to get a drink, dripping with water and caked with mud, I would see tears streaming down his cheeks. Tears of frustration, pain and embarrassment, but he went back out there every time. Once his fingers got stepped on by Big 67's cleats. A few times he came off the field holding his ribs. Another time, he had to wash out his mouthpiece because it was filled with mud. Each time, he tried to swipe away his tears so no one would see.
As the game progressed to the fourth quarter, he (along with most of his teammates) were so beaten down, that it began to take a bit of time to stand back up after each play. It was quite difficult to watch (because I'm a Mom, after all) as he would get smashed into the ground, then slowly get up on his knees and even more slowly, rise back up and walk (or limp)back to the line, ready to go again. At one point, a ref came over to ask him if he was okay to continue. He said he was. As kids began to get injured and carried off the field, the coaches started asking the kids if they felt they were okay to go back out or if they needed a rest. Brandon asked to go back out.
Their team lost 38-0. They were totally deflated, injured and dejected. They've actually lost worse than this already this season, but this loss was different. This wasn't just a loss, but a good old fashioned butt whoopin'. Brandon was in quite a bit of pain. As he hobbled off the field, I rushed over to him and tried to give him a big hug. Apparently, in the world of football- this is a cardinal sin. He recoiled as though I was a venomous snake and let out a very annoyed moan as he quickly moved far away from me. Yikes. But a few minutes later, as we settled into the van to drive home, I felt him reach over for my hand. And after he'd gotten a shower and washed away the mud, he cuddled up next to me on the couch with his head in my lap.
Ahhh, football is football and we all know its a tough sport. I asked him why he initially ran away from Big 67 and he said "Mom! That kid is the size of Dad! " I asked him "Brandon, were you afraid of him?" and he answered "Yeah!" like it was a stupid question!
I love that kid so much. I wish I'd brought the camera to capture his muddy messy self. He probably wouldn't have been much in the mood to pose though. He was only humble for a few hours though. Later in the evening he was back to his regular self, apparently ready to take on next weeks' opponent- Edwardsville.

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