Tuesday, March 12, 2019

The Sleeper

He's a sleeper.  He sets it up so you never see him coming.  No one expects his speed or his agility, his unrefined athleticism.  Competitors overlook him.  And that's exactly how he likes it.

Behind the curve is where he has spent most of his time in the past few years both academically and  athletically.  Not for lack of talent or ability, simply his choice to remain there.  Flying directly under the radar, peeking out to say hello and then without warning ducking away again.

Until this year when he turned the proverbial corner in all areas.

In school he went from a solid C student who dabbled in D's & F's to flirting with the Honor Roll.

This past fall he played  the center on his football team.  The success of the entire offense rested squarely on his boyish frame and he handled it like a Pro.  Quick enough to pull outside and strong enough to take on huge defenders, he used his lack of size to catch them off guard.  He was never taken very seriously until the ball was snapped. Like any solid center,  his critical role in the offensive scheme received little if any recognition but you felt it when he wasn't there.

He plays this center role in his real life as well.  He is largely unsung, un-celebrated but the center of our family both in birth order and in spirit.  When asked to describe him, funny always tops the list.  He is quick to hand out a hug and makes everyone who meets him feel like they really matter to him.

And you want to matter to him.  He has that thing.  That charisma, that "it" factor that draws people to him.  Even me.  I want to get inside his head and see what he is thinking but that is reserved space.  No one gets in.

There is something just behind his smile.  Maybe a hint of mischief, a glimmer of a secret.  Something only he knows and the rest of the world must figure out. He is good for a quick laugh but there is always something more behind it that you are hoping to catch a glimpse of.  I have spent many hours searching and come up still wanting. He'll reveal it when he is good and ready.

Things happen on his time.  Always have.  He was the last to talk and when he finally did, he spoke in complete sentences.  All my worries were for not, he knew how to speak all along...just didn't have anything to say.

I used to worry about Owen all the time.  Going into his first Junior High wrestling season I worried that he wouldn't earn a spot on Varsity, he did.  I worried he would get pinned every match, he didn't.

This past wrestling season he defeated many opponents who had already been granted their man muscles. In true Owen fashion he surprised them with a quick little dump and unexpected burst of power.  His opponents often looked past him, exactly as he planned it. 

Things happen on his time.  Everything except puberty.  That is happening on God's time.  And God is in no hurry.

He patiently waits for his armpit hairs to poke through the soft baby skin that keeps him a boy.  He patiently waits for his shoe size to change, it's been three years.  He patiently waits for vertical inches to add to his frame....to wake up one morning and have a jutting jawline complete with minuscule mustache like his brother did at that age.  But it is not in the cards for this kid...he still waits for his next chapter to start.  He's the sleeper.

He is is unsung in many ways... so let me celebrate where he is.  Let me praise where he has been.  Let me dream about where he will go.

The only thing certain about Owen's future is that he will do it in a style that is uniquely his own. 

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