I’ve always admired courage. Not just acts of courage in and of themselves, but courage from A-Z such as displaying courage in the face of adversity to follow one’s dream. Wherever that road might take you.
Saturday night the AFL Pittsburgh Power got off the schnide and racked up win #1 over the Iowa Barnstormers. Starting Power QB Bernard Morris got the Power a 28-14 halftime lead, then had to bow out of the contest with an arm injury. Enter former Pine-Richland native Kevin McCabe.
Flashback to a couple hours before kickoff, i walked the Consol Energy field turf laid out for the game. It’s like playing on a Brillo soap pad over concrete. Road rash waiting to happen. The men who play this game are tough dudes. Crash walls are just that, crash walls. They aren’t called bounce walls. There’s no easy “stage left” exits for the ones seeking safety out-of-bounds. High speed ballistic yoga is performed regularly along those crash walls. It is not for the faint of heart.
As i walked around taking in the sights i ended up talking with Kevin McCabe, who i’ve known since covering him in his hey-days at Cal U. Kevin is a terriffic young man with a fighting spirit that identifies him as a leader. And a winner, no matter what his professional circumstances might be at the moment.
Kevin is a student of the game and small talk quickly morphed to shop talk on the ensuing contest with the Iowa Barnstormers. We conversed of how hard it is to be a back-up QB, not getting the reps of a starter, and the importance of being ready at a moment’s notice to enter into a game. We discussed “mental reps” and believing in yourself. Of former Barnstormer Kurt Warner following his NFL dream despite some potholes in the road.
As we chatted it up, the enthusiasm Kevin still had to play this game of football that i’ve loved since the age of 7 was wildly apparent. Kevin still had the spark in his eye to go out there and get it done even as his road to the NFL has taken more wrong turns than me trying to find the dad-gum west parking lot at the Consol Center.
If this was a movie, that conversation would have provided the perfect back drop to Kevin’s entrance into the game.
At halftime i watched as Kevin took the field replacing Morris. The Barnstormers had just come smoking out of the halftime gate with a TD drive in the 3rd quarter. Kevin had the same bounce and leadership skills working that he displayed at Cal U as he huddled up with his Power teammates.
On his second pass of his Power career in the face of a heavy rush, Kevin did what i’ve always seen him do. Compete. And complete, the pass that is, for a TD to Jerome Mathis.
On his way to a 10-14, 110-yard 3 TD night in a 58-28 victory which garnered him the
“Player of the Game” award, i couldn’t help but smile to myself as i watched the young buck celebrate the win. He was a winner. As Kevin will always be in wherever his personal road of life takes him.
He’s that kind of a guy.
He’s following his dream.
More Power to you, Kevin McCabe.