He wanted to play linebacker just like his favorite football player, his big brother.
It was a position he knew well, having earned the right to play it in middle school. Middle School, however, is over. This is high school with a new set of coaches and a new set of challenges but, also an opportunity to demonstrate he is more than just Corn Dog’s little brother.
He wanted to prove he too had no fear and had what it took to play the position.
He wanted to show he could lineup against the biggest and stop them dead in their tracks.
He wanted to prove he was just as tough, could hit just as hard and when everything was falling to pieces around him he would be the rock his brothers could count on to get them through.
He wanted his big brother to be proud of him for carrying on his legacy.
In his eyes, he failed to make that happen.
He is mistaken.
The opportunities provided to him to play linebacker this season were sparse, at best. He rarely stepped on the other side of the ball. Instead, he was placed in a position he has disliked throughout his entire football life. It is a position that placed him in the spotlight and required him to take a leadership role. It is a position that does not garner praise when performed well but will solicit severe criticism when performed poorly. It is a position where the success or failure of the team can lie squarely on his shoulders. He did not ask for it, he did not want it but he was called to do it. He knows when others are counting on him, every job is important and must be performed at its utmost best. In our house, playtime is a precious commodity that must be earned, cherished and never taken for granted, especially a starting position. He must play with all his heart, every second of every down, until the whistle is blown. If you think about it, this expectation does not end with football.
The last game of the season of freshman football has ended and do you know what happened?
He played fearless!
He proved he had what it took and played the position from his soul, every second of every play.
He lined up against beasts and fought toe to toe in the trenches, stopping them cold.
He displayed a toughness indicative of his nature, to fight through adversity and many who faced him were given the opportunity to learn what turf tastes like.
He stood fast with an unshakable resolve that no one was going to touch his teammates, ever.
His big brother beamed with pride as he watched his favorite football player take up where he left off, playing the game he loved.
It goes without saying, we all are proud of him as well as every boy who strapped up his helmet, every day of this season.
A job well done, Cedar Park Timberwolves’ freshman football class of 2022, you are off to an exceptional start and your legacy will be a grand one!
Now may I present #51, Ryder Lucero, my little boy for whom I cannot be more proud. I do so love to watch him play.