The KickerWhen I was Eli 10.2s age, I was a decent athlete, but all too often, I blamed bad luck when I lost. I always thought that if things had just gone "my way", my team would have won.
"How often do you think people succeed when everything goes right?" I was driving Eli home from school, two days after he'd gotten his cast.
"Well, let's see," he said. He paused for a few seconds. "Everyone?"
"That's right," I said. And are those people successful?"
"Sure," he said.
"Not really," I said, "because everyone is successful when things go right. I don't know one grown-up who isn't successful when things go their way. That's not how you define success."
"How do you define it, then?" he asked.
"Everyone is successful when things go right," I said. "But successful people find a way to succeed when everything goes wrong."
"That makes sense," he said.
"So something's gone wrong here for you," I said. "It wasn't your fault, it was just bad luck, but now you need to find a way to succeed. What do you need to do?"
"Well, I need to keep up with my school work," he said. "And I need to work out, so that I'm in shape when I can play hockey again."
"That's right," I said. "And I'll help you."
That was two weeks ago. Since then, we've done the NFL Training Camp workout seven times, and it's nearly killed me. It's been very, very hard. He's tearing it up, though, and if he's lost any fitness, I think it's barely measurable.
In the meantime, though, since he couldn't play flag football, hockey, or tennis, he needed to find something to do. We can still play baseball (he throws with his left hand--quite well--then puts his glove on quickly to field, and he can bat with just his left hand and still hit the ball very hard), but he wanted to do something with football, so he decided to kick.
Remember, this is Superfreak we're talking about.
I know the mechanics of placekicking (long story), and I showed him a few fundamentals. After a week of kicking about 20-30 minutes a day, this is a 24-yard field goal:
That may not look like much, but for a kid who just turned 10, that's a big kick.
Then, just to entirely prove that he isn't human, he tried a twenty-yarder left footed (after kicking with his left foot less than a dozen times in his entire life). He didn't quite make it, but take a look:
He says he wants to be a kicker in high school. I think that's entirely possible, along with world domination.