My Son’s Determination Helped Him Reach — And Score — His Goal
It's a BBM -- Benjamin Bragging Moment. My son often gets overshadowed by his older, overachiever brother, Mathew, but at Thursday night's soccer game, this kid headed in the tying goal in the last few minutes of the game, sending it into overtime.
He's had the same coach since he was 5 years old and he has played defender (for non-soccer people, those are the players who stay near their goal to keep the other team from scoring) for most of his soccer career with coach Bill. For the past few years, though, Bill has him playing stopper, which allows him to move all over the field -- and giving him the opportunity to score goals. Unfortunately, they lost 3-2 in overtime.
This is the kid who at 14 days old began to have seizures. The doctors ran every test possible, but couldn't find the cause. He was put on adult medication for seizures and that seemed to stop them.
Whether it was the seizures or the medication, he has struggled with learning, but because of some caring teachers and his will not to give up, this kid is now getting all A's and B's his senior year, and he's taking some honor classes.
That strong will and scrappiness to never give up no matter how bad things seem probably developed on a soccer field. OK ... some of it he inherited from one of parents, who shall remain nameless. (OK .. it's me.) Nothing has ever came easy for him, whether it was grades in school or doing well in sports. He had to practice, practice, practice and practice some more to do better.
I'll never forget the first time Benjamin headed a ball. He was around 7 years old, and as he jumped up to hit the ball with his head my heart stopped for a second. Fear creeping up ... could this cause his seizures to return? They never returned even after he's sustained two concussions.
This kid has such heart and unwillingness to give up that he's continued to play with multiple injuries. He has had a fractured back, which we didn't discover until three months after he was injured. He continued to play soccer and then rolled into basketball season before the fracture was finally diagnosed. He played baseball with a fractured arm -- all because he couldn't give up on his goal to make the all-star team. He's had stitches, black eyes, two concussions and knee surgery. My words to him before this season started: "I want an injury-free senior year."
As I drove home from the soccer field Thursday, tears began to well up in my eyes. They were happy and sad tears. Happy that in his senior year he scored a goal. Happy that all his hard work and perseverance has paid off, but sad that his soccer playing days will end on the night of his last game. Sad that the little boy who headed the ball that first time is closing a chapter in his life, but happy that he's moving on to the next chapter of his life, with adult milestones to look forward to -- and more chances to use that same strong will and drive to never give up.
So, Benjamin, I'm so proud of the caring, thoughtful young man that you've become who never gave up.
*Yes ... I started crying while writing this, so hopefully it makes sense.*