It's been a football weekend for me! Last night, I was on the chain crew as always as our WCS squad played the best football I've seen in my fourteen years in Houston, leading at half versus perhaps the best private school team in Texas, Concordia Lutheran. Then, this afternoon, my/our Nebraska Cornhuskers throttled Michigan State in Lincoln! The following story from August 23, 2006 was about a difficult moment for several in the recent history of the men in red.
I grew up in Nebraska and still follow the fortunes of the University of Nebraska football team. The Cornhuskers were the only game in town, I mean the state. After several average seasons, expectations are again running high in Lincoln. The Huskers are a statewide obsession, unlike any that I've seen in my other places of residence. There was a NU football headline on the ESPN website this evening so I clicked. One of the story lines dealt with the recent departure of quarterback Harrison Beck from the squad. Beck, a much sought after high school player out of Florida from several years ago, was apparently disgruntled over his repetitions in pre-season practices as well as his position on the depth chart. That is a common enough complaint for athletes at any level. What made this situation different was his mother being publicly quoted that her son was being treated unfairly and that he was a better player than the Huskers' starting quarterback, Zac Taylor. Some analysts think the public nature of his mother's comments made it impossible for Beck to rejoin the team after missing several practices. Would his teammates have accepted him back in the fold under the circumstances? We'll never know. Harrison Beck has now enrolled at North Carolina State University where hopefully, he will make a new start and have more success in his new surroundings. In a related story, it was announced today that Arizona State University quarterback Sam Keller has officially enrolled at the University of Nebraska. The reason for his departure from ASU? Playing time. There seems to be a symmetry to the whole situation, doesn't there? Lose one quarterback, gain one quarterback. It's like playing cards; lay one down and pick one up.
Let's go back to Harrison Beck for a second. I don't know anything about the young man. I don't know anything about his mother, either, but she committed the cardinal sin when it comes to athletes: she spoke up for her son's interest in a public forum. I know football players who have instructed their mothers, "Don't ever come onto the field if I get hurt!" Most would probably feel the same about their mothers being quoted in a newspaper article. I doubt the lady sought out the press; they probably called looking for a quote. Her best option would have been not to say anything. I'm sure his mom is a terrific mother and she feels in her heart she did the right thing in standing up for her son but my take is that it only made it harder on Harrison. If he could have gone back and apologized after missing a couple of practices, without the additional fuel on the fire from the parent, it might have blown over quickly. I am also sure his mother's words would have been taken as an attack on the other quarterbacks. I try to tell my players that when a parent says, "My child should be playing more," in reality they are saying, "Someone else's child should be playing less." When put in that context, kids react very negatively. Discretion dictates handling some matters privately. Remember the reaction of the other ten apostles when the mother of James and John asked Jesus to give her boys special treatment? As a group, they were incensed and those guys were older that the teens that make up college football teams. Jesus took the opportunity in Matthew 20 to teach a lesson on humility. He made the point that we can't exalt ourselves over the others in our orbit if we want to serve him. Jesus called James and John the Sons of Thunder, perhaps because they made so much noise. It didn't help that momma wanted her boys to be ranked #1 and #2 in the kingdom. When Harrison Beck came out of high school in 2005, he was the #3 ranked high school quarterback in the UNITED STATES. How the mighty have fallen, at least temporarily. Let's hope the young man can land on his feet and thrive with a fresh start. Let's also hope for the sake of the son she loves, his mother can simply say next time, NO COMMENT.
Applicable quote of the day:
"We're glad to have him."
North Carolina State football coach Chuck Amato on Harrison Beck
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