February 1, 2013

49ers QB seemed destined to fill the most difficult roles

By TIM DAHLBERG Associated Press Sports Columnist

(Continued from page 1)

Colin Kaepernick
click image to enlarge

Colin Kaepernick can be an engaging interview but usually prefers to let his performance do the talking even though his life story is well worth the telling.

The Associated Press

It's the same quality his parents have seen almost from the time he first began to talk in complete sentences.

"I'm a parent, but I would say if you sat in the stands and watched him as a kid you could see he had something," Rick Kaepernick said. "He has that 'it' factor, whatever that 'it' is. In basketball, when it came time to take a 3-pointer to tie or win he wanted the ball. He was never the nervous Nellie, it was like 'Give me the ball.' You could see that at a young age."

That the Kaepernicks are proud parents goes without saying. Every parent who has taken their child to Little League or Pop Warner entertains dreams of someday watching them play in a World Series or Super Bowl.

They're just as proud, though, of how he honors his brothers who never made it. Colin quietly donated part of his first game check to Camp Taylor, a California charity his parents are involved in for children with heart defects, and last July he visited the camp with them.

He showed off his many tattoos while swimming with the kids, letting them climb on his back as he paddled about. He sat on the floor with them and listened as they told him about their different heart conditions, joined them in crafts and ate dinner with them.

When it was time to go, the kids hid his car keys, knowing that if you lose something at Camp Taylor you have to sing to get it back.

And so, the quarterback towered over them and was joined by his parents for a chorus of "This Little Light of Mine," a song he learned in Sunday school.

"He just loves kids, and he ended up spending six or seven hours there," his father said, "It's such a great thing for kids and we want that to be successful. We know how hard it is for parents. So we're pleased he is doing that."

While their son has been the definition of coolness under pressure in games and in front of cameras and microphones this week, Rick Kaepernick admits to feelings of anxiety and excitement heading into Sunday. He and Teresa have been watching him compete all his life but this, obviously, is on a different level.

And while they savor this moment, they'll also be thinking of two little guys who never got to live a full life.

"There's not a day that goes by we don't think of the kids," Rick said. "Everybody grieves differently and you try to get through it. But you never forget."

Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at:

tdahlberg@ap.org or http://twitter.com/timdahlberg

 

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