Concrete Lessons


Deerwood Dr. Driveway 

Raleigh, NC

April 9, 2017

“Get up. You’ll be fine.”

“You can’t guard me.”

“Nice catch.”

“Don’t run into the wall again.”

These are a few of the sounds from the driveway of 4909 Deerwood Drive between 1996 and 2005.

As the youngest of three boys in a hypercompetitive family, that hallowed driveway brought out the best (and worst) in me. In fact, it didn’t take much for Ryan and Chris to help me reach my worst. All they had to do was make me bite on a hook route at the garbage can and beat me on the go route heading for the brick wall end zone. To this day, that is my all-time-QB Dad’s favorite play to draw up.

I will always hate the hook-and-go.

What never gets old is beating Ryan and Chris, who have me by five and two and a half years respectively, on a post route on 1st down. 

The three of us loved nothing more during our childhood than lining up on our uneven driveway to play some two-hand touch football. We would rotate being on offense with Dad while the other two played defense. Four downs to go from the second line in the pavement to the brick wall at the end of the driveway that stood about two feet tall.

The "field" width drastically changed as the offense worked their way toward the end zone. Starting with eight feet to operate, passes had to either be short and crisp or you would take a deep shot as the playing area expanded to about 25 feet. The garage and another brick wall served as the sidelines. Awareness was critical.

The Deerwood Dr. Driveway (Photo: Google Maps)

The Deerwood Dr. Driveway (Photo: Google Maps)

My passion for football began on an imperfect concrete slab. That driveway taught me hand-eye coordination, sportsmanship, and what it feels like to run into a brick wall.

Over the years, we used that driveway as a basketball court, hockey rink, golf course, tennis court, and soccer field.

It will always be one of my favorite stadiums.