A 5’6 twelve-year-old is a sight to behold. Especially in a sea of more average to small-framed kids usually seen at any given game for a U12 flag football team. Full Speed’s rather tall teammate is a huge offensive and defensive weapon. The QB only needs to launch the ball in the general vicinity of him and his giant wingspan and leaping ability almost guarantee a completion. Needless to say, it’s been a very fun season for Full Speed and his winning team.
When the news broke that our super receiver and starting QB couldn’t attend Saturday’s game, we all began to wonder how we would fare without them. My friend’s son would step in as QB, and while he had experience in this slot with previous teams, he had never run routes with this current team. And, coupled with missing our surefire receiver, where does that leave the team? Pinning our hopes and dreams on the crazy fast quickness of Full Speed.
The night before the game Full Speed’s coach had pulled him aside. He warned him to get a good night’s sleep and be prepared for a lot of hand-offs. Mad Dog and I were a little perplexed. Full Speed averaged about ten runs a game and was pretty successful even scoring an occasional touchdown, but how many more runs did that mean? Twenty? Thirty?
The morning of the game Full Speed pounded on our bedroom door earlier than expected.
“Can I get up now? I know it’s early but I’m too pumped up for the game to sleep.”
Before a game, Full Speed becomes silently serious. On the ride to the fields he was a ball of nerves and I could tell he was doing his best to be focused and brave. I didn’t know what to think. On one hand, I knew that Full Speed, as do all of us, have this remarkable capacity to step up our game when needed. On the other hand, I prayed that at least the team would remain competitive, would have a chance for other players to shine and that some positive lessons about heart and effort would be learned.
At the coin toss, the other team won possession. My stomach gave a nervous little lurch as the refs lined up the teams for the first snap. Right out of the gate the opposition passed the ball to midfield where a player handily snagged it and ran for a touchdown. I cringed as the player zipped into the end zone and worried that this was going to set the tone for the game.
Full Speed’s team lined up to hopefully answer. It seemed like a longshot. Mad Dog and I knew Full Speed was getting the ball as his right hand twitched with nervous anticipation. Then, it was on. He was off to the races. He zigged, he zagged, he juked and he spun. He kicked into this extraordinary high gear and broke the ankles of players twice his size. They all were left standing in his wake confused that this little dynamo couldn’t be caught. He ran and ran, then he ran some more. We could hear the QB say, ‘I don’t need to pass, it’s fun to watch Full Speed run all over the field.’ To the QB’s credit, as well as all the other members of the team, they all gave tremendous effort when it was needed. Even a player not known for speed, lumbered his way for an impressive gain. The other team backed off for fear of being run over. His parents were seated next to me and said that his recent growth spurt had him weighing in at 118 lbs. Full Speed weighs 64.
“It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”
By game’s end, Full Speed had four touchdowns, countless runs and who knows how many Heisman worthy yards gained all leading to victory.
If 64 lbs can accomplish that, what can you do?