The sandy-haired boy trudged from the shore toward his father’s car, tears pooling in his eyes after enduring one of the greater injustices in his 12-year life.
He was leaving the beach near Peninsula Park after a Saturday of football conditioning.
“What’s wrong?” his father asked.
“Coach said because it’s my first year, I have to play on the offensive line,” he sniffed.
And that was how Matt Barkley almost started his football career as a lineman.
“I’m naturally a pretty big kid,” said Barkley, now 17 years old and 6-foot-5 and 225 pounds. “I was a little chubby, but just bigger than normal for most of the kids on the team. And I was a year younger, too, so he tried to put me at lineman. I just broke down, like, no, that’s not me, I’m not going to do that.”