Brothers can’t help but compete

I hit my brother in the head with a foam baseball bat when we were kids.

We were just playing in our backyard, throwing a baseball around, and for some odd reason, I decided to give him a nice whack on the side of the noggin.

He cried. My mother scolded me and wiped away my brothers’ tears.

I don’t remember why I did that.

It might have been an accident. It might have been because I was dumb kid who was jealous of my brother getting attention.

I’ve got hundreds of these stories from my childhood of and the constant combative nature of two brothers competing against each other.

Whether it was beating him at the Madden video game or winning the badminton tournament we made up to entertain ourselves on a sunny summer afternoon, it was competitive between the two of us.

Some people want to make Ray Lewis the story of this Super Bowl weekend. Some want it to be the revolution of the spread-option offense and Colin Kaepernick.

For me, nothing means more than watching two brothers coach against each other in a Super Bowl.

Sure it’s over-hyped (just like everything at the Super Bowl), but when Jack and Jacqueline Harbaugh were raising their kids, I’m sure they were hoping they would be happy and healthy boys who enjoy life.

Instead, they both became professional head football coaches.

In my limited experience around high-level football coaches, I know one thing is certain: they never stop working.

They live, breathe and sleep football the entire time they are under contract with their employer.

They don’t have much time for their families or golf in the offseason when the recruiting season is over.

They just love football.

My job as a student and sportswriter doesn’t come close to the same stress and pressure as a professional football coach, but I live for my job.

For most of my time since I’ve been in college, I’ve been working to become a better writer.

By my own choice, I spend most of my days doing homework, watching sporting events or reading and writing stories.

Growing up I didn’t spend a lot time with my brother(especially when I was a teenager), and I don’t spend a lot of time with him now even though he’s only 30 miles away in Lenexa.

A lot of times he’s wanted to come up and stay with me for a weekend, and most of the time I say I’m too busy.

Even when I was at home, I didn’t talk to him much. We still don’t talk that much.

The main reason?

I let my head get in the way. My anxiety takes over my brain and my mind gets in the way of enjoying college.

I’ve blamed a lot of it on my parents because they have similar problems.

I’ve done everything to try to cope with this problem: pills, acupuncture, talking with therapists.

And the whole time while I’ve been worrying about myself, my brother has carried on without any of that stuff.

He wrestles. He exercises. He talks to friends. He talks to his family. More than anything, he works hard. He takes responsibility for his homework and his body.

He grew up too fast and now, at 18, he’s a smart kid who’s got a bright future with very little thanks to me.

With all that said, that doesn’t mean my brother and I haven’t had some good times.

We’ve seen a lot of this country together. We’ve hiked the Grand Canyon, seen the inside of the White House and petted Ernest Hemingway’s cats in Key West.

But one of our biggest connections is football and cheering for the Green Bay Packers.

Thanks to our father, we’ve been cheeseheads since birth.

And even though we’ve grown up, we never stopped loving the Pack.

When we were kids, we played one-on-one football against each other in the backyard pretending to be Antonio Freeman or Robert Brooks. We performed over-the-top touchdown dances after we would crash into the chain-link fence.

Neither one of us played organized football, but we love the game.

Now during games, profanity-filled texts are exchanged after the defense misses an assignment, calls are exchanged when my dad gets a little too amped about a sack by Aaron Rodgers, and we laugh.

Football is one connection I have to my brother, and it’s one I’ll have my entire life.

So when I watch the football game on Sunday, I’m going to enjoy the Super Bowl, and I’m going to enjoy it with my brother.

Michael Rosenberg wrote a fantastic piece for Sports Illustrated about the Harbaugh brothers that was published on Oct. 18, 2010.

It was a well written story talking about their shenanigans growing up and how these two brothers had become great football coaches.

This excerpt summed up their relationship very well.

“Jim’s superior athleticism sent him off in one direction, and John went off in another—and ever since, Jim has been known as the brash athlete and John the reserved thinker. But both say repeatedly, We’re a lot more alike than you think. ‘We had the same mind-set,’ John says, ‘but the difference was he was a lot better. That kind of dictated his path.’”

I don’t think my brother and I will both be facing off at the pinnacles of our careers when we’re older.

I do believe millions of brothers have a similar story that I had as a child.

I also know that brothers love to compete.

They’re competitive in their DNA.

Brothers have a lot of the same mind-set, but what you don’t realize sometimes is you’re grooming someone to be better than you.

Kevin, you are better than me.

Love you, brother.


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