The passion to persevere

By: Jim Linsdau/Sports Editor
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Many of us have dreamed of reaching the pinnacle of our success, but have little or no idea how to get started. We often end up discouraged, which leads to a path of disappointment and frustration. But that’s often more the result of giving up than it is fate. Kyle Peacock, a Rocklin resident, and his older brother, Justin, were excellent football players until a serious illness shook the foundation of their family. When their father, Glenn Peacock, was diagnosed with cancer, the two youth turned down scholarship offers in order to stay home and help during their father’s recovery. Justin eventually turned to coaching football, but Kyle kept his focus on college. He also didn’t give up on football. He continued to work out just in case another opportunity came along, as so often happens when dreams are put on hold, but not abandoned. Having played football at Yuba College, Kyle’s friend from that team, Josh Hutchinson, accepted a scholarship to Midland University. The school is just outside of Omaha, Neb., and plays in the shadow of the Cornhuskers of Big Red. While at Midland, Kyle’s friend found the team was hurting for wide receivers – Kyle’s position. He told the Midland coaches about Kyle and things began to happen. Kyle was a bit reluctant to move 2,000 miles away to play football -- a distance that would keep him from helping his family. However, both his father and mother, Melissa, knew it was something Kyle had to do. To make a long story short, Kyle pursued his dream and wound up getting a scholarship that was enough to make even his friend jealous – temporarily. Glenn Peacock called me and left a message saying his son had gotten a scholarship to play football. That was certainly newsworthy, so we played telephone tag for about two weeks before hooking up. What I thought interesting was Glenn’s approach to the story. Sure, he was proud of Kyle’s achievement, but he also wanted to send out a message to other kids in similar situations who may have given up on realizing what Kyle is now living. “Pick the phone up. Don’t give up. Call some people,. Call some coaches,” Glenn said. “Call Peacock; he’ll make some phone calls for you.” Well, I’m not certain about that last part, but the passion with which Glenn spoke was unmistakable. Of course, it would be wrong to assume there’s a Midland University out there waiting for every athlete who graduates from high school, but not when the passion is real. I’ve seen a number of athletic scholarships given out this past year that didn’t happen by chance. Parents, coaches, students, families and recruiters starting talking and making plans; it’s a little like interviewing for a job. At the same time, you have to be realistic. Someone who plays third string is probably going to have a tough time convincing a Division I school they’re the right athlete for the job, but there are other avenues. And schools come in a variety of sizes. However, they all offer an education. I doubt it’s by chance that the Peacocks know Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger, the diminutive walk-on at Notre Dame who was the inspiration for the movie “Rudy.” Like Kyle, Ruettiger never gave up on his dream. In the words of the late Coach George Allen Sr., “Persevere and get it done.”