Coming of Age

By Kevin Wilson, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: December 21, 2010

MARYLAND (BASN) — The power of an angry young man should never be underestimated, especially when he stretches 6-feet-4 and crushes the scale at 320 pounds. Luckily, for us, 13-year-old Eugene Lindsey feeds his aggressive tendencies while playing offensive tackle with the Glenarden-Ardmore-Springdale Unlimited Football Team, commonly called the Bulldogs.

And many believe the Bulldogs have one of the largest offensive lines in the county, with Lindsey’s aggressive play and size being a key factor in the team’s regular season 7-0 record.

During a match-up against New Carrollton in early October, two defenders were left on their backs after Lindsey blocked for his teammate who ran for a touchdown. Folks who saw it were still talking about it weeks later.

The team that Lindsey and other youngsters like him play for is sanctioned by the Maryland Youth Unlimited Football Association, which is in its second year of operation. The league is populated by boys aged 13-to-14 who are in eighth and ninth grade. There is no weight limit, and the teams are formed around Boys and Girls Clubs throughout Prince George’s.

The gridiron has been good for Lindsey. It’s the place where he sees and feels the benefits of his labor, where he can lead and motivate his peers, and dispel the simmering anger that’s built up over his short 13 years.
Just before his birth, Lindsey’s father, also named Eugene, was killed. “As I got older, I knew that my father was a football player, and that is an inspiration,” he said. “I know he would want me to be successful in a sport he played.”
Knowing that your dad suited up on game day or some of his preferences on blocking styles can certainly inspire, but they are no substitute for a cheering parent in the stands, or having some guidance on the nuances of manhood during the sometimes awkward transition from adolescents.

Lindsey admits the absence of his dad always weighs on him.

He attends Children’s Guild, a coed, nonsectarian, behavior modification school in Chillum, to help him negotiate his anger issues. “I don’t want to go to prison and I don’t want to hurt anyone,” Lindsay said. “The proper way to deal with anger is not stay angry long and talk things out.”
The coping skills are paying off. His first male teacher, Sean Augustine, said last year Lindsey carried a 3.8 grade point average. “Eugene is a leader among his peers, he takes ownership of his conduct and he assists others,” Augustine said.

“His size is unusual, it’s a gift, and he’s an effective communicator.”

Children’s Guild principal Tyrone Frazier has known Lindsey since the third grade, and has taken interest in mentoring his growth. “We want our students to have the will to persevere and to keep on struggling rather than give up when life or a lesson takes a lot of effort to master,” said Frazier, a former All American linebacker at Villanova University.
Lindsey’s coach and mentor, Gerald Hyatt, believes Lindsey is slowly developing the discipline needed to motivate himself and those around him to win. “Off the field, Eugene is mild-mannered and humble, on the field; he has an aggressive mean streak to get the job done.”
Some of that on-field intensity might come from Lindsey’s other inspiration, Hall of Famer Reggie White. Lindsey became attracted to the defensive end’s play while watching classic football games on ESPN. White played defensive end for 15 seasons in the NFL for the Philadelphia Eagles, Green Bay Packers and Carolina Panthers.
Hyatt first discovered Lindsey during basketball tryouts at Glenarden’s community center in 2008. He recalls saying out loud “He is a big one,” not realizing Lindsey’s mother, Wanda Smith of Hyattsville, was sitting beside him at the time. Hyatt respectfully introduced himself and recruited Lindsey for football.
When Lindsey isn’t in the game, he’s pacing the sidelines telling his team mates, “Let’s go. This is our time.” During a recent outing, he tells running back Tony Alonzo Rich, Jr., “When the play comes my way, I’m going to open it up for you, and you know what to do.” With Lindsey blocking, Rich scored on the next play.
Lindsey is brimming with potential. We’ve all seen young athletes who showed tremendous promise early on, but faded due to lack of focus or legal woes that sidelined them.

In the absence of his father, Lindsey is fortunate to have men like Hyatt, Augustine, and Frazier in his life to ensure he succeeds whether football is in his life or not. look forward to Saturday’s and knowing that my father is looking down on me; that makes me happy.”

Editor’s note: The Bulldogs’ championship run was cut short on Nov.13 by an 18-7 loss to the Kettering-Largo-Mitcheville team at the Sports and Learning Complex in Landover.