The Bird's Got Bend
At eight in the morning my phone chirped at me to let me
know that someone from the outside world wished to initiate communication and as we humans have been conditioned to do over the past five years or so, I
rushed to make sure I wasn’t missing anything that required my immediate
attention. It was an email advertisement for tax software – apparently I can
dollars if I purchase it now. However, as I
flipped through the
digital scrawl of my Droid I encountered a text message from sent the afternoon
prior that I must have somehow missed. Originating from the father of one of
our BIF athletes it read, “Q – Guess who was the only lineman to pass his
flexibility test at Towson?” I replied, with less-than-obvious text message sarcasm,
“Was it Jay? It was Jay, right?” And indeed it was.
Against his express wishes, I call Jay “Bird.” There’s no
hidden agenda behind this. Jay is transformed to
Jaybird which is shortened to
Bird. Although he has stood at 6’4” since his freshman year of high school, Jay’s
football career has been one comprised of numerous obstacles; some he has
erected for himself, others have arisen out of circumstance. One, by one, Jay
has overcome them, although some have taken longer than others to recognize. His
football career began at a small parochial school and its progression was
inhibited by less than capable coaches who were unable to nurture his progress.
Academically, it took Jay a solid three years to realize that it behooved him
to put his intellectual capabilities (of which he has many) to good use and to
extricate himself from the intellectual, social, and artistic apathy that
plagues much of his generation. As Jay turned the corner into his senior year,
a few colleges had showed interest, but it soon became apparent that Jay was
not going to be getting looks from the D1 level – at least not yet. And so,
disappointed, yet indefatigable, Jay headed into a prep year and less than a
year later, his father and his adopted big brother/coach (that’s me) got to sit
and smile at a local eatery as Jay signed a National Letter of Intent,
receiving a full athletic scholarship to study and play at Towson University.
Jay had been introduced to the Boston Institute of Football
and Renegade Training while still in high school (completing one of BIF’s first
summer sessions) but I think, by his own admission, he was skeptical and lacked
a complete understanding or what it was that BIF & Renegade could offer
him. After experiencing a labrum tear and surgery during his freshman year at
Towson (a medical redshirt), Jay returned to BIF with a willingness to defer to
the knowledge of its coaches and philosophy AND the social and intellectual
maturity that is REQUIRED of all who walk through our doors. The results in
five short weeks were tremendous. With a specific focus on both static and
dynamic flexibility (namely hip BEND), developing work threshold capacity, and
reestablishing confidence in his shoulder capsule, Jay’s body and outlook began
to change. Obviously, our knowledge at BIF played a large role, but more than
that, it was Jay’s attitude of understanding that allowed him to return to
Towson and dominate their initial offseason performance benchmarks. However,
enough out of me – the proud coach. Jay’s own words, extracted from an unsolicted
email exchange say it better than I ever could.
“Coming from where I was in the last couple months, when I
was in the worst, awful-feeling shape of my life (pure hibernation working out
wise). I cannot believe how far I have come in five weeks. It was to the point
after surgery where I had felt complete loss of even balance WALKING. I felt
different, I felt out of shape... it was awful. I’m just happier now...."
So are we Bird, so are we. Good luck during the spring
component of your off-season. Go Tigers!!!
Coach Q, a.k.a Yann Kumin, is President of Operations for the Boston
Institute of Football and Associate Head Coach for the Stoneham Spartans.