Monday, November 3, 2008

Mom: Dreams Come True

Remember the little boy who stated that when he grew up he wanted to be a fireman or the little girl who wanted to be a nurse? By the time Chris was five he had his mind set on becoming an NFL player. He lived and breathed for the Denver Broncos. When he was five he got his own Denver Bronco uniform – pants, number seven jersey, and helmet – they rarely came off. He wore them every day. He also had a number seven shirt. Before he got his uniform, I made him a makeshift helmet from an old helmet and some foam pad added so that the helmet would fit.
We lived in Wyoming, and during football season the weather could be frigid. Every Sunday, Chris would get dressed in his uniform (rain, snow, wind) – being sure to put on lots of warm clothes underneath. Before the game he would go out to the front yard and have his own “pretend” game. He would be every player on the team – constantly commentating as he played. He would throw the ball up, catch it, run it, kick it – he was the team. If I opened the window or went outside, I could listen to the play by play. It was amazing what Chris knew about football at such an early age. When the game started, he would sit in front of the TV intently watching every play. If the Broncos got behind, he was devastated! He would get so upset that sometimes he would cry and couldn’t watch. He would put on all of his warm clothes and go back outside to have his own game, coming in every so often to check the score.

Chris always wanted me to go outside and kick a football to him. No matter if the ball was kicked right to him or a little bit away, he made a diving catch. Every single catch had to be a diving catch. When I would get tired of kicking, he would always say “Just twenty more, Mom”. He never wanted it to end; we did this for hours.

When Chris was seven, he was asked to write a paper in school about what he wanted to be when he grew up. He said that when he grew up that he wanted to play in the NFL for the Denver Broncos. He always, always wanted to play in the NFL!

He actually started playing on his first “real” team when he was in fourth grade – flag football. He was amazing! He really was the whole team – he was the quarterback, the kicker, and the defense. He was a little league coaches dream player. He also got his first set of “real pads” for Christmas that year. He was very excited and wore them all the time.

We moved to Utah the summer before Chris started fifth grade and found out that they had tackle football. That was the first year Chris played tackle, and he never quit from there. He played in high school at Logan High – never starting varsity until his senior year (who knows what was wrong with that coach). He earned a scholarship to play at Utah State and was invited to the Senior Bowl and the Combine and then drafted by the Redskins in the third round. The rest is history. Now he is a ProBowl tight-end for the Washington Redskins. The most ironic thing is that the first game that Chris played in the NFL was in Canton, Ohio, at the Hall of Fame game against the Denver Broncos the weekend that John Elway was inducted into the Hall of Fame. The Redskins won.

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