The final day of Region III Camp at the University of Alabama began with a 7:30 am kick-off against Tennessee 2. In hindsight the performance or lack thereof started mid-afternoon the day before when our team learned that despite going 2-0-1 up to that point, no one made the final night of pool games, and the individual player evaluations were by many accounts harsh. The sky was overcast. The players tired and indifferent. The game abysmal.
Midway through the first half Florida 3 conceded it’s first goal of the week, and trudged to mid-field with the enthusiasm of eleven dead men walking. It took less than two minutes to equalize, but our body language never recovered. We conceded a second goal, and a third before responding with one of our own. We fell 3-2. The cohesive passing and compact defense on display through the first three games was replaced by self-indulgent dribbling and irresponsible marking. It was a deeply disappointing display.
The sideline perception was that the spirit of the boy’s was crushed by the negative evaluations and apparent hopelessness of making the Region III pool. Hearing this made me think of two words: Fuck You. If, as is inevitable in this life, you are told that you are ordinary, or not good enough, you have three choices….1) find something else to do, 2) accept the indictment and in doing so make it true or 3) stand up and say Fuck You, I can do this and will expend every ounce of my energy proving your narrow-minded ass wrong. It is a shame I was not called upon to make the pre-game speech for the Tennessee 2 game. We would not have taken option 2).
Bryson’s teammate Mikey Lynch, of whom I have written before, was at the Region III camp playing with Florida 2. I watched Mikey play his first three games. His first game was by his standard poor. He was not called for a pool game. His second game was better, but again he was passed over. At this point, Mikey a very good player was undoubtedly frustrated by a sense of rejection. In his third game, he played better was selected to the pool game, and at the closing ceremony selected to the Region III holdover camp. A classic option 3) performance, which in my observation of him so far is his greatest quality as a player.
Bryson played in a pool game the first night, and had four solid games. At the closing ceremony, the Region III director called over 40 names of players making the holdover camp, and another 20 names to fill out the Region III player pool. I sat on a banquet chair in the back of the auditorium and somewhere in the final 5-7 names heard Bryson Pink. To the best of my knowledge I showed little outward reaction, but inside I was proud, happy, satisfied and thankful.
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