I want to talk about passion today.

I just spent the last two days in the hospital with my sophomore because he broke his collarbone at football practice.  It’s broken in half with the upper half pushing on the skin from the inside.  He didn’t have to have surgery but still a significant injury.

It sucks and we hate that he plays football.  We’ve wished that he didn’t play football for years.  The thing is we let him play flag football when he was little, and he caught this passion for this game, this fire in his belly for this game.  All he wants is to play football, think about football, practice football, read about football, speculate about football, watch football, play football video games…

He’s tenacious.  He’s a super athlete, maybe not necessarily in skill but in attitude and effort.  He wants it so bad, is so passionate and always has been.  What do you do with that as a parent?  You’ve got this kid who comes to you and says, “This fire lives within me.  I want this more than anything.”  We’re saying, “Your body!  Your brain!  What about all the things you are going to put at risk for this sport?”  What do you do?

You can’t create passion like that.  That passion came from so deep within him, who are we to stand in his way?  He knows the risks, and right now he’s living the result of playing the sport.

So he gets in the car and he’s devastated.  He’s in incredible pain.  I’m driving him to the emergency room and he says, “I’m done.  That’s it.  I’m done with football.”  I can’t believe my ears, because I’ve never heard something like that come out of his mouth.  Ever.  I’m secretly so excited, because this is my baby.  I don’t care if he’s taller than me.  This is my child.  I don’t want him to get beat up.  I hate watching games and knowing he’s at the bottom of a pile.  I hate watching him get hit.  I hate thinking about the risks.  So I had this little secret celebration in my head.  And sure enough…

As soon as we started to get the pain managed and he gets out of THAT moment, that quitting moment, that moment of defeat and upset about the beginning of the season and where that’s going to end up this year…that fire was not doused.  That fire was still burning in the ashes.  Then there is the backpedal, “I don’t think I’m out.  We’ll see what happens.  Maybe I can play by the end of the season.”  Already talk of next season.

If you’ve got a fire like that burning inside you, you HAVE TO.  You HAVE TO keep going.  You’re going to have moments when you want to quit, when you feel so defeated and devastated, and like there is no possible way you can climb out of that hole.

But when you have that fire burning within you the way he has that fire burning, it cannot be put out.  You might be able to quiet it or douse it for a while, but you’ll always know that it is there.  And in order to stay aligned with who you are and what you are supposed to be doing, you’re going to have to let it burn again.

Listen for that passion.  You can allow those moments where you want to ignore your fire.  But if you’ve got it burning, you have got to put another log on it and keep going no matter what.

Those are my thoughts on passion.  If you’ve got one…sorry, you are going to have to let it shine, let it burn, light it up!