This is dedicated to my son, Blake. Two years ago I knew my son Bryce would be playing his final football game. I wrote a blog talking about his last game. I watched Blake’s final game, but I didn’t know it would be his last. I think it is appropriate for this to be published on Thanksgiving Day, a day to reflect on what we are thankful for, and a day associated with great football. I’m thankful this kid is in my life. I love him more than he will ever know. I’m thankful I got to watch him play. I loved it.
I remember standing on the sideline at Dick Bivens Stadium in Amarillo and watching a punt spiral into the sky toward the sideline, deep, turning over, and watching the returner run underneath it thinking, “there’s no way this kid is going to catch this bomb.” He didn’t. It dropped right through the returner’s hands and our team recovered it. This was Blake’s last game, only halfway through his senior season.
He broke his kicking foot during practice the next week. Just unlucky. No more kicking for Blake. He could walk on to any college in the country and make the team, but he decided going into his senior year that this was it. He was ready to be finished playing competitive team sports. So his mom and I accepted this after several arguments looking forward to watching his last ten games. We all got shortchanged.
Blake has a gift. He is a natural athlete armed with super strong legs, and he can kick the ball. He can kick the hell out of it. Could he play linebacker, running back, or any other position? Yes. He made the decision to focus strictly on kicking his sophomore year after placing 2nd in a national competition. You see, he has my genes, so he will never be 6’4” and 250lbs. 5’10 and 185 are about what he will max out at, so that limits your college prospects if you want to play past high school.
I remember like it was yesterday the very first organized sports game he had. It was pee wee soccer, and Blake was 4. I was the coach, and after two weeks of practice I figured he just wasn’t interested. I was wrong. At the start of the game he took the ball, streaking down the sideline, dribbling with precision and scored. He’s never been much of a guy for practice. He’s a gamer, and he save’s his best for when it matters.
He loved soccer and played all through his sophomore year moving with his club team to Classic Division 1 in Plano. I loved watching these skinny legged soccer kids come down the field and be stunned when they would run into the wall that was Blake and see the ball go the other way. I bet he outweighed most of those kids by at least 30 pounds.
He gave up soccer to avoid injury. Kind of ironic that he broke a bone on a practice kickoff. I’m going to miss watching him play. He was great, and pressure made him even better.
- Won Texas Tech Kicking Camp
- Won Rice Kicking Camp
- 2nd University of Houston Kicking Camp
- 2nd Baylor Kicking Camp
- 2nd Texas State Kicking Camp
- 2nd Colorado State Kicking Camp
He was the second leading scorer for Midland High his junior year, missing being first by one point.
He was the third leading scorer on this year’s team, and missed over half the season with his injury.
If you can’t tell, I LOVED watching Blake play. Football is the sport I love the most so it was special to see him in a pressure role, and deliver time and time again. I loved watching him play any sport, soccer, baseball, etc. He took control in all of them. His feel and vision made it unfair for everyone else playing. He’s one of those kids who knew exactly where he needed to be and what to do to win, and he did.
I don’t know what career path Blake will take. He’s not even set on a school yet. I do know without a single doubt though this: Whatever he does and wherever he goes he will be highly successful. He is a natural winner. He loves and cares about the people around him. If he’s your friend, he is as loyal as they come. Blake is the guy you want on your side.