The first mother we spoke with was Alice Lynch, mother of Cape Coral (FL) Island Coast defensive end Aaron Lynch.
The bond between a mother and son is different from any other relationship. When your son is one of the top college football prospects in the country, life can get a little crazy. However, while others panic under the pressure, mothers always seem to be well prepared, as they have witnessed their child's greatness from an early age. This was the case for Alice Lynch and her son Aaron Lynch.
"When Aaron was five, the first time I signed him up for Pop Warner Football I knew he was going to be special. He was quick and fast."
Mothers know their sons better than they know anyone, so when asked to talk about her son Aaron as a person; she was quick to point out his softer side.
"Aaron is quiet and has a very big heart. He has always been laid back and very observant, he did not really like to go outside unless he was going out to play football. He never really liked going out and playing in the heat here in Florida like his younger brother. But he's just a very, very good kid, and very quiet."
As for what Aaron likes to do, Alice has found her son to be very happy with trying to be a normal kid.
"His whole life has been around football and sports. He likes to eat and sleep, and he loves to read. He's just a very laid-back kid and a homebody. His brother would be out at his friends all the time, but Aaron was the type of kid who always wanted to be home. His comfort zone is at home. He's come out of his shell some this past year, but he's been such a home body since he was a little kid."
As a single parent, Alice has found her oldest son to be a giant help with her other children and a positive influence on them. This is why it was important for the family as a whole to find a place they could all be together.
"We're a very close family, he's got a younger brother (Dominic – 16) and a little sister (Arianna – 8 years old), and I'm a single mother. For Arianna her bigger brothers are everything to her. Aaron has really been a big part of helping with her structure and helping her in school. He's going to be a great dad some day as he's a very helpful big brother and very protective of his little sister. There was never any question about us following him to college because he would go crazy just leaving his sister behind. All three of them are so close."
In the genesAs with many athletes the physical size of Aaron, it can be hard when it comes to finding clothes. For Aaron, the problem has been more with finding the right shoes.
"It's really not hard to keep him dressed, but keeping shoes on him has been the hardest thing. He's got this skinny foot, but it is a size 17. He's got these toes that are so long that they are about half of the size of his foot. The poor kid, since high school started he's worn his Nike Slides and they are everything to him. He even wore them to homecoming the other day. He's built so well in so many areas he's very well proportioned.
Living here in Florida, we have the type of weather were he's always been able to wear cargo pants or basketball shorts, so it has not been too hard to keep him clothed. However, it is expensive though to get clothes for him because he is so much bigger. The bigger you are the more expensive your clothes are, and he just keeps getting bigger because he just loves to eat."
While some parents are surprised by the interest their child receives during process, Alice Lynch expected it from an early age.
"No, no I was not surprised. I knew this would happen. I have to say that ever since he started playing football I knew. I had a brother who was a football player. He was not as highly recruited or one of the top in the nation as Aaron is, but he was very focused and hard working and loved to be on the field just as Aaron loves it. My brother was killed when Aaron was one and my father latched on to Aaron because he lost my brother."
"When Aaron started playing football, I told people it was like when my brother got killed he had left his soul to my son because Aaron was so much like him. Aaron looks like, talks, walks, and plays with the same demeanor as my brother. I always knew he was going to be special because I saw at such a young age how his heart was so into the game.
He looked for knowledge himself at such a young age about football. He loves to read; when he's in his room, he is either watching ESPN or reading. He loves reading and when he was about eight years old he would start reading about all these different football coaches."
"I'll never forget when he read the book about Bear Bryant and Alabama. I always knew he was going to try and put a goal up there to make and he was going to get it. He was very into it and it does not surprise me because every year he got better and better and was getting bigger, quicker, faster, and stronger."
"In ninth grade he was so skinny and tall and only 160 pounds. I knew that because we have a very athletic family. My dad was always on me about him about working out. So in the middle of his ninth great year I told him he needed to start working out. We placed him on a strict protein diet and he gained 40-pounds.
Then the following year he gained another 43-pounds, so we were like wow, he was getting so big. But it was a lot of hard work for him, it was not hard for him to eat because he loves to eat, but to keep a regiment going it was hard at first. But he loved it and when he looked in the mirror, he could see the results and knew it was working. He knew he wanted to go to college and play football and his dream is to play in the NFL. So it's not really a big surprise."
A life choiceWhile making a college choice is one of the hardest things in a young person's life to do, Aaron was faced with a hard decision when it came to going to high school. Alice was confident her son would be as focused in making his college choice having gone through this process a few years earlier.
"His school was a brand new school and all the kids that he played Pop Warner with all wanted to stick together. They were all going to be at North Ft. Myers High School. Here in Florida you have school of choice. While they sort of tell you where you're going to go you can make a request and try to change it.
Aaron was given Island Coast and I gave him the option to put in for North and see if we could get it. Instead Aaron said no let's see if everyone can go to North Coast, now this is a big decision because a lot of the kids didn't go to North Coast and ended up going to North. But Aaron stuck it out and look at where they are now, it paid off."
In picking a college Alice Lynch gave her son the advice she had always found helped her the most.
"I told him to visit colleges and really listen to what the coaches said and to get a feel for the players already there. I told him it was not going to be that hard, I told him to follow his heart; he would know where his heart was leading him towards. I told him he would know if he wasn't really interested in a school."
"I didn't have to say too much to him about the whole process of looking at the schools and figuring them out.
I know my son so well, I just knew he would feel it and felt he would get that feeling of where he belonged. I felt it would only come down to a couple of schools. Like I told him, you will go visit a school and then go back to check out the other one you like to see where your heart goes.
But I also told him there really was no wrong choice. You're going to get your education, you're going to play football, and that is the main thing. I always look at it like that. I firmly believe he deserves to go and get a free education because he's work very hard for this, but he's going to get that education and that is number one."
Note: This was part one of "A Mothers Words" with Alice Lynch. Stay tuned for part two in the coming days.