Sunday, November 4, 2007

Meeting a Lakeland High School Football Player

Friday night was a solemn night coming home from the Lakeland High School football game against Kissimmee-Osceola. My husband, our friend Ginger and I were bummed about the loss that breaks the team's winning streak.

We felt badly for the players, because their disappointment was palpable.

Saturday, while shopping at our favorite grocery (you know it's Publix), my husband asked the cashier, a teenage boy, if he went to the game last night. The boy paused for a moment and said he went to the Kathleen game. I think he knew we meant the LHS game. Anyway, we gave him some ribbing about how KHS soon would be 8-2 after they face Lakeland this Friday.

Throughout this conversation, the bagboy quietly bagged our groceries. As he helped us out to the car, he said, "So, you guys are big Lakeland fans?"

We explained that we were, and to keep the conversation going, I asked if he attended the games.

"I play," he said.

Immediately, my husband replied with, "You're No. 15."

Amazed, I asked my husband, "How did you know that?!"

My husband said, "Don't tell me your name. It's Jensen."

My husband can't remember the names of people who come to our home, but he can remember the name of a high school football player who he's never met.

Then I remembered, it's football. It's a total guy-thing.

Anyway, my reason for sharing this is to comment on how impressed I was with Mike Jensen. He is a tall, handsome, blue-eyed young man who plays on one of the best known teams in the state. He's a senior who has enjoyed a 30+ game winning streak during his high school career. Earlier this year, a college was talking to him about playing after graduation. I'm sure the girls in school positively swoon over him.

In a nutshell, this young man has a lot to brag about. If anyone is justified in being cocky, it might be this kid.

Instead, I'm left wondering if he would have ever mentioned that he played for Lakeland, had I not asked the question of whether he attended LHS football games. His humility and modesty were among the most pleasant and refreshing things I have witnessed recently.

Many might give Coach Bill Castle a lot of the credit for Mike's demeanor. I'm sure he instills good qualities in his players. But I suspect Mike's parents deserve the bulk of the credit.

It was great to meet Mike and to briefly talk to him while we shoved the orange pom poms, LHS flags and Hooters/Naughts Thunder Stix out of the way so Mike could load our groceries into the car.

It's nice to know that somebody still believes in raising their kids right, or that kids are figuring out for themselves that humility is a virtue that will take you far.

Best of luck to the 'Naughts this Friday night. We'll be there cheering them on, perhaps a little more loudly for Mike Jensen.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'll also bet the girls swoon over him at the grocery store too, or at least that's how I recall it from seeing it first hand as 1) the parent of a swooner a number of yrs ago, and 2) as the swooner a bunch more years ago.