I’m Gonna Make the “A” Team, Mama

Photo Credit: Alliance Moving

For the longest time, I told people that the Hinton family’s move to Allen, Texas in 2007 took place because we (Will’s dad and I) wanted to relocate our son because he was being bullied in Denver. That was my primary reason for wanting to move, and Wiliam said it was his, too. That wasn’t completely true. After I tell y’all what his real reason was, I’m not making reference to that man anymore in this post because this one is a tribute to my son. I could blog for the next 50 years and still have plenty of material about William because there was never a shortage of shenanigans with him. Anyway, once he came in and told me that he wanted a divorce, he finally told me that he had jumped at the chance to move to the Dallas area when the opportunity presented itself, because he had been planning to divorce me for years but had wanted to bring me back to my family when he finally did. Dallas was close enough. See…

All For Him

Anyway, when we first got to Allen, our most immediate mission was to find a traveling basketball team for Will. He had played basketball since 3rd grade, so the summer that we moved, all of us were out of sorts. That was the first summer that we had not attended a basketball tournament or watched him play a game at all. Knowing that his former team was in Vegas for the tournament that we had attended for years was killing us. We were determined to find a winning basketball team for our son. William and I rarely — I mean rarely agreed on anything but during our independent research (’cause we never did anything together), we had both decided that a move Allen would be in Will’s best interest. I was kinda shocked when he called me from work and said that he wanted to go to Allen because it had been my intention to call him and tell him the same thing later that morning. Naturally, the camaraderie didn’t go too far past the surface because our reasons for picking Allen were totally different. William wanted him in Allen Independent School District because of its superior athletic program. I wanted him there because of its excellent academic program. Whatever the reasons, we did end up in Allen and for the sake of my child, I couldn’t have been happier. Okay, I said I wasn’t going to make reference to that man again, but I can’t really tell the story without mentioning him. Whatever.

He Looks Like a Football Player

On August 6, 2007, I took my son to Ford Middle School for registration and the first thing the woman at the front desk said to us was, “The coaches are going to love him!” I smirked because football was the last thing on my mind. I want educational information and while I got that, she passed along the information about football practice and try-outs, too. Will was super excited and couldn’t wait to call and tell his dad. (William had already gone back to Denver for work). Right then and there, Will decided that not only was he going to play football, he was going to be on the “A” team. Will had never played football in earnest, and I’m from the south, where football is king, so I knew he would be facing stiff competition to make the team, especially since some of those guys had been playing since they were in elementary school. Will had only really played basketball.

I’m Gonna Make It, Mama

They had practice every morning at 7 o’clock, and I never had to wake him up to go. Every single morning, he was ready to go. Every morning, I told him that I was praying for him and that even if he didn’t make the “A” team, we would be proud of him. He would just look at me, every time, and say, “I’m gonna make the “A” team, Mom.” I believed him. I saw that determination and I knew he would do it. Even with that knowledge, nothing prepared me for the day he told me he had made it. I had gone to pick him up like I always did, and as usual, I asked, “How was practice?” He said, “It was good. The coach got on me because it took me a minute to get my pants tied. He said he needs his “A” team starter to be ready fast.” That’s when he made eye contact with me and smiled. I screamed like we had just won the lottery! My baby had made the “A” team just like he said he would.

Will Hinton, Allen Eagles

Unfortunately, medical issues plagued him much of his high school sports career. He tore his right ACL during his freshman year. He tore his left ACL during his senior year. A scholarship was out of the question. Few things have ripped at my heart worse than what he was feeling on Signing Day when he was the only one of his clique who didn’t get a scholarship. He was also dealing with our divorce and an extremely turbulent relationship with Mia’s mom. His dad made certain that he received the best conditioning and rehab. He left for college in a very depressed state. He didn’t, however, give up on his dream of playing ball. He never stopped working out. I never stopped telling him his time was coming. It finally did.

The Call

While he was here in June on summer break, he got the call from his college coach that he had been waiting for. He was invited to be part of the University of Arkansas – Pine Bluff’s “95”. He could hardly contain his excitement while he was on the phone. Once he was finished with the call and told me what happened, we were both jumping around like grasshoppers. He’s officially on the team. He will show off all that talent this fall. My heart is dancing. He is second string and as a sophomore, that is no small feat. You guys will hear all about the season as it’s happening. He’s gonna do it all!

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