September 13, 2016


I’m sure by now everyone in North Dakota has seen or heard how Carson Wentz did in his first NFL game. If you live in another state, you may not be aware.
Carson was the quarterback at NDSU. He’s a Bismarck kid. He was the second pick in the last NFL draft and chosen by the Philadelphia Eagles. In his first start in the NFL he received high marks, threw 2 touchdown passes, and they won.
We all grow up being heroes in our backyard. I imagine every boy or every girl has stood in their backyard and made the winning touchdown, basket, kill, block, or hit. We’ve all pitched a perfect game or danced a perfect dance. We’ve all heard the crowd cheer when our name was called and all closed our eyes and rode Little Yellow Jacket or roped that 4-second steer. We’ve made that 16-second barrel run or a 19-second pole run.
I was never that good. I roped a steer in 12 seconds once. I scored 28 in the bronc riding at Killdeer on the Fourth of July. Which, by the way, still holds the record as the lowest score ever reported at a pro rodeo.
I was the slowest guy on a slow nine-man football team. I was the sixth man on a pretty dang good basketball team. At least the first five were pretty dang good. And my mother always told me they were good because they had to beat me in practice. That’s how mothers are.
The first basketball game I played in was when I was in the first grade. The old gym in Berthold. The kind of gym where the ceiling was too low for a long set shot. The out-of-bounds line was six inches from the wall. The circle around the free-throw line intersected the center circle. You’ve seen pictures.
Anyway it was fun night. The first grade was playing the second grade. I was a cowboy. Or wanted to be. I didn’t have tennis shoes or basketball trunks. I informed the teacher that I didn’t have trunks or shoes to wear. She informed me that I could just play in shorts and stocking feet.
Shorts! Shorts! The only shorts I had were underwear. And I’ll be damned if this cowboy was going to run out in front of a couple hundred people in his underwear! Man, they would see my legs!
So, you can imagine my parents’ pride when the Berthold first grade came running from the locker room. I was easy to pick out. I was the little skinny kid wearing his long underwear!
I’ll just stick to dreaming of being great.