Oh, Lord. Lund’s Writing About His Grandkids Again

Posted: Tuesday, October 14, 2008 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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I have to admit that I wasn’t too thrilled when, on November 7th, 1992, our daughter Brenda and her husband Dale announced that they’d decided to name their newborn son, “Tucker.” I was worried that insensitive classmates would one day tease him..using words..one in particular..that rhyme with it.By November 9th, though, Tucker’s name was the least of our worries.
He was pretty small at birth..weighing-in at less than six pounds..which meant time in the incubator.Then doctors discovered he had protein C deficiency..a rare genetic disorder that causes clotting. Blood was not getting to his tiny kidneys.  One had already shut down but they somehow managed to save the other and everyone breathed a sigh of relief. Everyone but Tucker, that is.
Just like his brother before him, Tucker had developed asthma and would spend his first 14 years never far from an inhaler or the nebulizer machine that, for ten minutes each day, would blow medication through a mask into his lungs.
Brenda and Dale’s first son, Cody, died at birth so they were understandably protective of Tucker considering all his health issues. Competitive sports would be too dangerous…even though he clearly showed signs of being a natural athlete.
Tucker understood his parent’s concerns and accepted his situation…for a while, that is.  He absolutely loved sports, though, and couldn’t stand the thought of spending the rest of his life having to watch from the sidelines.
He finally managed to coax his mom and dad into letting him play softball and basketball where he excelled..but football..his favorite sport? That was out of the question.
Tucker had been so good and grown up about handling everything, it was heartbreaking to see his disappointment at having the door closed on what he wanted most; to play football.
“We’re going to the doctor,” Brenda told him. “If he gives the okay, you can try out for the West Central team.”
“There are always risks,” the doctor told them. “But if you have him fitted for a flak jacket to help protect his kidney, I’m not going to say no.”
That’s how our grandson, who is just a sophomore, came to win a spot on the varsity for the eleven time state champion West Central Trojans who are undefeated again so far this season.                                                                 Tucker Smith, number 21 breaks through for a tackle.
At five nine, 175 pounds, Tucker Smith may not seem big enough to be playing defensive tackle but what he lacks in size he more than makes up for in drive and enthusiasm. He pursues opposing offenses with such reckless abandon that his nervous mother spends the entire game riding an emotional roller coaster; both worried and proud at the same time.   No.21 on defense charging for a sack. Thanks to Dave Eggen and Inertia Sports Media for the picture. On offense scrambling for yardage. Photo courtesy Matshots.By the way, nobody makes fun of Tucker’s name. In fact, Linda and I plan to be there yelling it loud and often when Tucker and the Trojans take to the field Friday night.

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