Schuckman: Palmyra product's perseverance stands out

Posted: Dec. 1, 2012 1:40 am Updated: Jan. 12, 2013 1:50 am

Brock Reed and his Lindenwood football teammates were content to watch a movie while they waited.

What else were they going to do?

The Lions were on the road Thursday to the Mineral Water Bowl in Excelsior Springs, Mo., when their charter bus blew a tire. A wrecker was called, but the process took nearly 90 minutes.

"We waited it out," Reed said. "It wasn't too bad."

That's not surprising. Reed is well-versed in patience and perseverance.

A Palmyra High School graduate, Reed is wrapping up a four-year career at Lindenwood in which he has started 22 games and turned himself into one of the Lions' defensive playmakers. Despite injuries that limited him at times this season, the senior linebacker has 41 tackles, two interceptions and a team-leading two fumbles forced.

Not bad numbers for a player told a year ago his career might be over.

Reed broke his left thumb, and after having it surgically repaired, he had to persuade the hand surgeon to clear him to play. It wasn't the only hurdle he had to clear. He's suffered a torn labrum, a stress fracture in his shin and a concussion that sidelined him for two games this season.

"Football takes a heck of a toll on your body," Reed said. "We've all talked about that and how you just want to get through it. You love the game, but there are times where you want the break. You want the chance to rest and recover.

"Still, we all know we'll miss it in the end."

The end is finally near.

Reed's final game is Saturday against Winona State in the Mineral Water Bowl. Established in 1948 as an end-of-the-year showcase, the bowl game is now a showdown between NCAA Division II teams from the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association and the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.

"It's going to be kind of bittersweet," Reed said.

He already has a sense how that feels.

The Lions wrapped up the regular season Nov. 10 with a 38-13 victory over Truman State, giving them three straight victories and an 8-3 record.

With no chance at a D-II playoff berth -- only the top six teams in each of the four regions receive a bid -- the Lindenwood players got some time off during the Thanksgiving break.

"It was a little glimpse of what life will be like," Reed said.

It will be an adjustment, considering he'll walk away from his extended family.

Recruited by Lindenwood, which was a member of the NAIA's Heart of America Athletic Conference at the time, Reed discovered the level of play didn't matter as much as the environment he was in. He found an atmosphere much to his liking at the St. Charles, Mo., school.

"The thing we preach at Lindenwood, the thing that is kind of our theme is we're a family," Reed said. "When I came here on my visit, I really didn't feel like a recruit.

"I felt like one of the guys hanging out. I felt that comfortable. That's what sold me on coming here in the first place."

That was five years ago. Now he's just weeks away from graduating with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice with a minor in sociology.

It's been a journey to cherish.

"I wanted to play at a level where I could get on the field," Reed said. "I wanted to go somewhere to help pay for my education. I never thought it would lead to this."

Reed's success -- academically and athletically -- has made him a role model in Palmyra. He marvels at the response he gets when he comes home, from the kids who look up to him to the adults who take pride in one of their own doing well.

"It's special," he said. "It really is."

It always will be.




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