Sports Illustrated interviewed Brendan Bigelow's father Frank about when he first discovered his son's speed and how they harnessed it on the football field.
Back around the summer of 2000, Frank Bigelow took his son, Brendan, to Wild Water Adventure Park in Clovis, Calif., just a few miles away from their Fresno home. Anyone who has endured a summer day in San Joaquin Valley knows that time in the water isn't just refreshing, it's necessary. As Frank and Brendan entered the gates, Brendan decided he had waited long enough. The rides GhostSlider, Vortex and Vertigo were waiting, so Brendan quickly bolted toward the slides.
A track coach, football enthusiast and concerned parent, Frank was stunned. He figured he'd find Brendan soon enough, but he certainly couldn't chase him down.
"You know how kids are anxious just to get to the water, right?" Frank said. "So Brendan just throws off his shirt and shoes and he just took off. When he took off, I just paused and I said 'Wow.'"
Managing that blazing speed on the field required some unique drills between father and son.
The speed was always there. It was maintaining it that was difficult.
Frank enrolled Brendan in football at age nine, and soon Brendan was racing past kids on the field instead of at the water park. Brendan would drag Frank outside after long days at work to develop his agility and elusiveness. Frank instructed Brendan carefully: Line up 15 feet away, sprint at me and spin out of my grasp when I try to tackle you. Now 10 feet away. Now five. Now two. Use your hands to stay upright and do not go down.
"When we'd get to the end of the drill, he'd be right in front of me," Frank said. "And he has to make me miss him when I am reaching out to grab him. And I'm reaching out to grab him two feet away."
Put a slip-n-slide in the end zone and no one will be able to stop Biggie this season.
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