(Editor’s note: it’s 5’4″ and first Korean QB…)
October 1998 – My aunt hands me this spiraled notebook. The cover is decorated with light pink ballerina slippers, red roses, and sheet music.
What was I supposed to do with a diary? Couldn’t she have picked a more masculine design? A Batman toy would’ve sufficed.
My mother, on the other hand, is enamored with this idea of me sitting at a desk and penciling in my thoughts.
This hobby would “help my critical thinking and my reading comprehension.” Right.
Her eagerness for me to write? Ox-strong. I did it for a few days. She believed that if her Korean son could jot down his emotions into the blank pages, uh, he’ll turn out OK.
But I don’t know any better. I give it a try.
14 years and nine books later…
“Dear Diary…today was fine and fun.”
Eloquent, I know. I described my day at school, what happened after school, and proceeded to tell my Diary what grade I got on my test (a D if you’re wondering). I’m scratching it out though, in fear of my mother finding out the truth (I told her a white lie). I didn’t do it often, twice is a stretch.
>>Fast forward 2 years>>
My father knows how much I enjoy playing football. I remember checking the classified ads in The Washington Post for a pair of Redskins tickets. I contact a man selling two stubs for $150 — which is a great deal — for lower-level seats. As a last-minute gift for my 12th birthday, my father and I watched the game at FedEx Field, a memorable time. I still cherish it today.
Imagine a warm sunny afternoon in D.C. An hour into the game, the sun stops shining. Blocked by a group of bullying clouds, those white puffs loiter above the stadium to then rain on the fans for ten straight minutes. The heroic sun beams and rescues us out of our wet clothes. Besides this refreshing moment, I recall how loudly the fans cheered after Stephen Davis scored on a 2-yard run. So loud that my hot dog vibrated through my puny fingers.
It’s amazing how football has shaped my life. My favorite quarterback back in the day was Daunte Culpepper, primarily because of how far he could bomb the ball. Receiver #84 Randy Moss and No. 11’s connection was supernatural.
>>January 6, 2001>>: Divisional Championship Saturday. My parents took with me them on their shopping trip to Sears. While they moved about, I stood in front of the television the whole time and admired the mercurial Randy Moss toast the Saints’ secondary (on a WR screen pass by the way) for a long touchdown run. Of course, I was heartbroken the week after; the New York Giants shut out Minnesota 41-0. I couldn’t understand. The beat-down ignited rumors of how the Giants coordinators tapped into the Vikings’ systems to hacked their play-calls. Beats me.
When I dedicated my life to watching the NFL in 2002, it was quarterback Donovan McNabb and former Eagles Head Coach Andy Reid who stole my heart. They were obliterating the Chicago Bears in the NFC Divisional Playoff Game. Remember “Duuuuce” Staley, Brian Dawkins, the dynamic tandem, Bobby Taylor and Troy Vincent? Wow.
Although they made four consecutive NFC Conference Championships, no one was more ecstatic than I was when they stripped the monkey off their backs against the Falcons at Lincoln Financial Field. I then teared up in front of my friends after the Eagles barely lost to the Patriots in the Super Bowl (2005).
There’s a lot more to this story. It’s not just about a child with a football crush.
With dreams of someday playing for the Eagles, the sights that I set were torn in the 10th grade. After an eye checkup, my optometrist informed my family that my weak retina was gradually tearing behind both eyes–meaning that I could permanently lose my vision if ever I were to have a head-to-head collision. That, (and well, my Korean genes didn’t let me grow any taller than 5’9.5″) sucked.
Although my heart ached, I still had God to vent to. God and something.
It’s funny how an empty, wide-ruled notebook which should’ve been given to my girly cousin – landed in my hands. That book from my Aunt would be the first of nine. It’ll be awesome to feel as if I’m writing journal entries in the blank boxes of an ESPN.com or NFL.com article.