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Captain Scrub: The Origin Story

No, Captain Scrub isn't a low-rent superhero. Nor would most people want to use that alter ego for personal branding. But for a few years, I had the nickname of Captain Scrub. I was the second team quarterback (QB) on my 9th grade football team. (These days I could say QB2, although that isn't a role people are chasing.) The second team or B-team played another night of the week against the B-team players from the other school. We played to smaller crowds. But still, being the QB for that second team thrust me into a leadership role. Somewhere along the line we got called the scrubs, no doubt from someone on the starting team. I don’t remember it as term of endearment. On the bus ride home from our second B-team game of the season -- our second straight win I might add -- I somehow gained the nickname "Captain of the Scrubs" which eventually was shortened to Captain Scrub.

That is me, #14 Captain Scrub, middle row 3rd from the right.

Even leading the so-called "second string," I had a lot to prove. Our school's football team had a serious winning tradition. The Jerstad-Agerholm football team was the 7-time defending city champion by the time we got to 9th grade. More so, the Jerstad-Agerholm Jaguars football team had not lost a game in 7 years. I remember talking about that tradition over the few years before our 9th grade year as the streak extended from 5 straight city titles without a loss to 6 straight and finally 7 straight seasons undefeated and untied with 7 consecutive city championships by the time we entered 9th grade. We knew the expectations. We welcomed our shot at continuing the Jerstad winning tradition. We were not going to be the team that blew the streak.

By late fall, we were the undefeated city champions, running the streak to 8 years. Meanwhile our "scrub" team matched the first string win for win week for week. We too went undefeated just like the first string. As the season went along, we gained more confidence with each win. So much so that we would talk of playing the first team and believed we could beat them. Predictably that epic showdown never took place.

What I remember most about that season long ago are the bus rides, both to and from the B-team games. On the bus to the games, our team of "scrubs" talked about what we wanted to do in the game, how we would win. On the bus rides back to the school, we were even louder as we recalled the big plays and celebrated each win. In 9th grade, you aren't thinking about enjoying the journey. You just want to win. When I look back though at any accomplishment of note, it's the journey that brings joy. It's the journey and having people with me.

Memories like the season my teammates gave me the Captain Scrub moniker feed my desire to coach others. I have always enjoyed helping others achieve their goals. I would welcome the opportunity to come alongside you in your journey. We don't have to talk football. You pick the topic. It's your journey. We can swap the school bus ride for a phone call, Zoom meeting or in-person meeting. If you really want to, you can call me Captain Scrub.

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