My mother wrote this poem during her treatment for cancer a few years ago. Her courage during her illness is something that has and always will inspire me and something that speaks volumes of the person and mother she was. Growing up as a promising athlete, I went through many of the trials and emotions Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has had to endure and i was at a similar age to him when his mother developed Breast cancer. I thought I just had to cover this story when I learned of it this past week so before I start I’d like to share this poem my mother wrote during her treatment. I know she would have wanted me to share this if it could help anyone in anyway.
I had a dose of chemo two Thursdays in a month
then radiotherapy for a month
then chemo again.
It was lovely counting down to the last time.
Getting well is what it’s all about
and if anybody asks me I say fine.
Both my boys were concerned
but I wasn’t laid up
and I wouldn’t want to make it a frightening issue –
to me it’s a waste of grieving.
But for all that, my son was in the van coming back from chemo
and his arm came around me.
– Margaret Jones
On ESPN’s draft board he’s still number two behind Jadeveon Clowney as the best NFL prospect in college football today but the Heisman poll pundit guys were not all that impressed with the workman like victory over Kentucky last week.
The standards for Teddy are so high, the expectations for the statistics are so monstrous that when Bridgewater just does ‘ok’ it doesn’t impress people. He has high expectations for himself though. Make no mistake about that.
One of Teddy Bridgewater’s few pedestrian games came against Florida International University last season. He threw a couple of touchdowns and less than 200 yards passing. I remember the critics after the game and remember thinking that the kid had won but it wasn’t enough for the Heisman panel guys. OK, it was a pedestrian performance but there is little about his play or his path that is pedestrian.
Known as much for his toughness as his talent – It turns out Teddy Bridgewater’s strength is an inherited trait also.
Before he was a player or a leader, a team’s heart or an offenses engine, Teddy Bridgewater had his first position in a prime role. He was a son – And his mother taught him his first lesson – To give all his heart – All his effort – All the time.
Growing up in the Liberty city section of Miami, Sports have always been the purpose and path for Teddy and a constant connection between Mother and son.
In the following interviews with Teddy, Teddy’s mother Rose and Teddy’s head coach Charlie strong, we get great insight of the path this potential Heisman winner and number one draft pick’s life has taken to date.
CHARLIE STRONG – Louisville Head coach – ” The reason why Teddy is the way he is ? You have to meet the mom. Because when you look at Teddy – Rose is the reason he is who he is.”
TEDDY BRIDGEWATER – “Where we’re from, Not many parents are involved in their kids’ lives, whether it’s football, Basketball or in school and my mom always stayed on top of me and that right there meant the most to me.”
ROSE MURPHY – Teddy’s mom – ” The more you interact with your child and the more you let your child see that you’re supporting them – That goes a long way because a lot of parents would just drop their kids off. ”
In 2007, When Teddy was in 8th grade; Rose was diagnosed with breast cancer.
ROSE – ” Teddy was just looking at me in disbelief, like, you know, like, what are we going to do ? ”
The disease threatened Rose’s life and tested Teddy’s will. An emerging star as a freshman at North-western high school in Miami, He spent his time helping his single mother through cancer treatments and began turning away from his team and his games.
TEDDY – ” I wanted to be there for her and I would stop playing ball, I would stop going to school and if I had to work I’d get a job and just be the man of the house. ”
ESPN asked Teddy.. Why did you feel compelled to do it ? Teddy replied…. ” Because, Well, You know. I felt like I had a purpose in life and at the time I felt like my purpose was to protect my mom and you know, be her superman – The one she never had. ”
ROSE – ” He was like – Mom, I don’t want to play football anymore and I said. – No No No – You have to play. You can’t give up. God has given you a gift and you have to use it to the best of your ability. I said, You don’t worry about me, I said. I’m gonna be ok. ”
MOTHER KNEW AND SON LISTENED
By the time Teddy was a junior, North-western was one of the country’s most coveted offensive recruits. Now finished with chemotherapy and radiation – Rose rarely missed a moment of his play.
TEDDY- ” Even though she was diagnosed with breast cancer, she would still attend all my games. even if she had to leave early, if she could only stay for one quarter, she would come just to show her face. ”
ROSE – ” I wanted to show him that I wasn’t giving up. I always tell him that cancer is a giant and giants do fall and that it was only a matter of time before this giant fell. ”
TEDDY-” It just motivated me – It gave me that drive to know that if I quit now then I’ll be quitting on her, I’ll be quitting on life, So I kept playing ball – Kept going to school and I’ve ended up here in Louisville. ”
With a survivors spirit and a sons will, Bridgewater capped the 2012 regular season with the defining performance of his Louisville Cardinal’s career. Playing with a fractured wrist and one useful ankle.
HEAD COACH- CHARLIE STRONG – ” He could have very easily sat on the bench that night and say ‘ Hey coach I can’t do it ‘ but he knew that the team needed him and he wanted to get to a BCS bowl game.
At the sugar Bowl in New Orleans, Bridgewater helped Louisville dominate the 3rd ranked Florida Gators, and as always, mom didn’t miss a snap. And likely will not miss a play this season either as her son raises hopes for a Heisman trophy.
ROSE – ” He always says that I’m his number one fan but he was my number one fan. I got my inspiration from him. He was my hero and he still is my hero. ”
ESPN asked Teddy – What makes you most proud of your mom ?
TEDDY -” Just her fight, Her determination. It makes me the person I am today. She was determined to beat breast cancer and I’m determined to be successful in life. ”
This weekend Rose plans to be there to see her son Teddy and the Louisville Cardinals play and I’m happy to say that her cancer remains in remission. As for her son – He spent part of the summer working his stamina and his footwork in a boxing ring. It turns out that both mother and son are fighters.
Bridgewater arrived at Louisville as the No. 2-rated quarterback prospect in the nation by Rivals.com after an accomplished high school career in Miami that included setting the Dade County record with seven touchdown passes in a single game. He was second team All-State 6-A and played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
Bridgewater wasted no time in making a major impact at Louisville. He was the first true freshman to play quarterback for the Cardinals since Brian Brohm in 2004, and the first true freshman quarterback to start since Stu Stram in 1976.
He set the school freshman passing record with 2,129 yards to go along with 14 touchdowns in being named the Big East Rookie of the Year in 2011. Bridgewater completed 64.5 percent of his passes, although he did throw 12 interceptions.
Bridgewater continued his ascent as a sophmore, being named Big East Offensive Player of the Year after throwing for 3,718 yards with 27 touchdowns. He had six 300-yard passing games and two of 400-plus. Bridgewater was named the MVP of the Sugar Bowl after passing for 266 yards and two touchdowns in a win over third-ranked Florida.
He compares to a taller Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks – NFL analysts often say that if Russell Wilson was 3-4 inches taller, he would have been a first round pick. Well, that might hold true with Bridgewater who is a similar prospect as Wilson (smart, athletic, mature, accurate) except he is taller with more prototypical height for the NFL.
By Rhodri Jones