TRUE HEROES THAT DRIVE US TO BE GREAT
He was born with god-given talents: a rocket launcher for an arm, powerful legs with coordination to change direction in a blink of an eye equipped on a tall, athletic frame. Sound familiar?
Countless athletes, blessed with natural gifts, have paraded through the professional ranks so frequently that it’s almost redundant to talk about every new rookie’s elite skill set. Yet we find ourselves every year highlighting an athlete whose career has fallen by the wayside, whether it is due to lack of performance or lack of common sense. In fact, this obsession with downfalls and shortcomings has led us into an age where the media yawns at yet another player founded charity but writes a novel out of a short answer to a reporter. Come on, aren’t there talented people out there who have GOOD stories to tell?
Enter Colin Kaepernick.
By now, you’ve surely heard of the San Francisco 49ers quarterback who has burst onto the scene with scintillating performances that are well-deserving of the internet real estate being used to talk about them. And there’s no doubt that you’ve heard short-sighted “analysts” running their mouth about the tattoos that decorate Kaepernick’s upper body. But don’t get caught up in the sensationalism of the media: this is a focused young man with a unique back story.
In the picture you will see Rick and Teresa Kaepernick, posing with an amusing depiction of what Atlanta Falcons fans hoped would come true for their son Colin during last Sunday’s NFC Championship. To address the elephant in the room, yes, Colin looks nothing like his parents. The obvious story in this situation is that Rick and Teresa Kaepernick decided to adopt Colin, a mixed race infant born to a 19 year-old woman, when he was only 5 weeks old. The less obvious story is how Colin came into their lives.
After giving birth to their first son, Kyle, and daughter, Devon, the Kaepernicks continued to chase their dream of a family that included 3 children. They welcomed a third child, Lance, into their lives but the joy was brief before tragedy struck. Lance died of congenital heart failure just 23 days into his young life. The Kaepernicks tried again and shockingly, tragedy struck twice as another son, Kent, was lost to the same heart disease just 4 days after being born. Devastated, Rick and Teresa held fast to the belief that God wanted them to explore new ways to expand their loving family. Instead of tragedy, the Kaepernicks found a blessing in Colin.
Despite the set of circumstances that intertwined his life with the Kaepernicks, Colin has never thought of himself as anything but an ordinary kid that had extraordinary dreams. He did not spend his childhood contemplating his birth mother’s decision nor did he ever ask about the misfortune that plagued his family. So when Rick and Teresa approached Colin about connecting with charity given his standing as a professional athlete, they were a bit shocked by his response.
Since his first day in the NFL, Colin has worked with Camp Taylor, a foundation that helps children congenital heart defects.
He knows where he comes from, he knows the story that goes untold when reporters focus on his tattoos. So for all that has been said about his arms and legs, maybe it’s time we start telling the story about Colin Kaepernick’s god-given heart.
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