Saturday, August 27, 2011

My tribute to our son, Michael....

So I thought I should write a little tribute to my son Michael because its been a Jennifer overload on my blog. Michael said it's all I can think of this summer.  I did write the story of Bev's Best April Fools Day, 1993 ( when I found out I was pregnant with him, but that's about it.
So this ones for you Michael! 

Jennifer has always been the straight A, creative, gifted student and Michael is the natural born athlete and musician, just like his father.

One of the things that amazed me about Lorens when we were dating is that he was good at every sport he's ever tried.  I realized that it must be natural born talent when Michael showed signs at an early age of being just like his dad.  When Michael was like 5, he would spend hours shooting hoops in our driveway.  He was on the basketball teams in grammar school.  When he was going into 6th grade, we moved to Manhattan...Kansas that is.  He won the Little Apple Optimist Club's Annual Hoop, Holler & Shoot  free throw contest for his school.  He was only 11 years old and he made 8 out of 10 baskets from the free throw line, breaking a 23 year old school record.  The winner from each of the 10 area schools got to be in the Free Throw Championship during halftime at the televised Kansas State University vs. Texas basketball game at KSU in December, 2005.  He made 7 out of 10 baskets that night and was given an autographed T-Shirt and an award.  He was one of 10 kids that made it to the Championship out of about 800 that tried.  Its a really big deal for these kids.
This was an article about the contest last year....

Elementary students to compete in free-throw contest at K-State games
senior staff writer

Students who like to hoot and holler from the stands of Bramlage Coliseum have the opportunity to cheer on not only the Wildcats, but also some half-pint players, when fifth- and sixth-grade athletes compete during the game tonight.  This competition is part of the Little Apple Optimist Club's "Hoop, Holler ‘N Shoot," an annual free-throw shooting contest.  Thad Hall, chairman on the "Hoop, Holler ‘N Shoot" committee for the Optimist Club, said 838 Manhattan area kids participated in the event this year.   "A huge number of kids participated, so it's a big honor for these kids to make it to the Bramlage shoot," Hall said.

Prizes for the winners include a $100 grant to the classroom of the first-place boy and first-place girl, scholarships to basketball camps, plaques, autographed T-shirts, K-State merchandise, fast food coupons and more.  Hall said the participants show a healthy level of sports-style pride in representing their grade schools. He pointed out many K-State students are probably graduates of the schools represented.

"There will possibly be future K-State students shooting at this event, so it's always good to support our local kids," Hall said. "It's a good event for our community, and I think it's a fun event for the kids as well."  Tipoff time for all games is 7 p.m., and all "Hoop, Holler ‘N Shoot" contests are during the halftimes of their respective university games.  The event is sponsored by K-State Athletics; The Manhattan-Ogden Public Schools U.S.D. 383; local radio stations 97.5 Power Hits, Q 103.5 and 1420 "Talk of JC" KJCK; Kansas State Bank and McDonald's.

We moved back to the Chicago area after the school year when my husband lost his job.  Mike was on his middle school basketball team both years.  When Mike started high school, he wanted to try organized football.  He never played football before high school.  This video below is of his first game quarterbacking in 2009 as a H.S. Sophomore.  He completed a 50+ yard pass within the first 10 seconds of this video.  At 50 seconds into this video, Mike makes another long completion (my favorite one).  At about 58 seconds into this videoI'm the nut in the white shirt, galloping sideways down the sidelines, arms waving for the receiver to keep running.  Then I try to compose myself so I'm clapping.  

Michael was Jr. Varsity, #17, in 2009, Quarterback
Willowbrook Warriors
"Silver & Blue, Through & Through"
He threw for over 300 yards this game but his favorite part was the quarterback sneak for 2 points at about 1:50 into this video.  His coach told Mike after this game that Mike was his fantasy football player of the week.

He was on the football and tennis team for 3 years.  But this year, his senior year, while he loves football, he's decided not to be on the football team.  His grades were really bad last year and we encouraged him to make some tough choices.  If he wants to go to college and have 1/2 a chance in life, he's going to have to concentrate on his school work this year and get his test scores up.  

He had to make a decision about giving up some extra curricular activities.  He surprised us when he said he'd give up football.  He said tennis is his favorite sport and what he wants to do in life (well besides girls and his garage band).  He never played tennis once before high school either.  I never would have thought of him as a tennis player.  But he's so quick and so tall, (already 6'3" and still growing).  He's got a long reach with his long arms and so not much gets past him.  Turns out, he's perfect for tennis.  He wears a size 18 shoe (so far, he's still growing) so its been tough finding him good tennis shoes unless they're online.

His tennis coach has been working with him and clocked Michael's powerful serve at 80 mph.  He said Michael could make it to the State Championship this year if he keeps at it.  He said Mike could possibly get a Tennis Scholarship like he did if Michael concentrates and devotes himself to tennis this entire year.  There will be a lot of colleges watching. 

One of Michael's favorite players is the tennis great Andre Agassi.  Agassi's father was in the Olympics for Boxing twice and is an Assyrian from Iran just like Michael's dad.  So Michael is 1/2 Assyrian just like Andre.  Michael also refuses to cut his hair.

Below is a picture of Michael last year as a Junior at the Willowbrook Varsity Tennis Invitational.  There were 56 players from 8 high schools competing in the tournament.  MICHAEL WON 2ND PLACE.

There are preseason football games starting and I already miss being a football mom.  I can still go cheer on the team and help sell refreshments but it won't be the same.  Then again, my heart was in my throat watching Michael get hit, so maybe I'll enjoy the games even more.  And in the end, its exactly what needed to happen.  He has more time to work on his grades and tennis.  If you ask him, he's got more time to work on girls, his song writing, guitar and drum playing with his friends.  They got some studio time last week and he said it was heaven.  He is thinking he'll be a professional athlete or a famous rock musician.  I don't want to be the one to crush his dreams but I did let him know the odds are against him.  I told him, you need a back up plan Michael, like a college degree. 

Lorens reminds me that Michael IS a gifted musician, showing signs ever since we got a piano when he was 2 years old.  If he heard you play something, he could play it.  Lorens was upset I lost the guitar tuner the other day.  Mike said, "dad, don't worry about it, I'M YOUR TUNER".   And he tuned it perfectly by ear.  He plays guitar at school and will be playing in the guitar ensemble on stage this year.  He spends hours each day on Tux Guitar online writing music that he then plays for us.

BOTH of my kids are awesome in their own, unique ways.  
Even though I'm not a football mom this year,

Michael,  Homecoming, 2010

2010, Michael was Varsity, #16, Tight End