Being one of only two kids selected from South Dakota to compete in the 2018 U.S International Bowl, Aiden Brink is ready to showcase his talents next week.
Brink, 14, is in eighth grade at Patrick Henry Middle School in Sioux Falls, S.D., plays offensive line for the South Dakota Miners Travel football team.
“It seems so extremely crazy that a boy from South Dakota made the team,” Brink exclaimed. “I never dreamed I would be selected for the International Bowl! It is such an honor to be able to represent South Dakota on the 15U Select team. I hope I can make everyone here at home proud.”
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He explained that finding out he made the team was a complete shock and his mother, Tiffany Brink, kept him in even more suspense. Tiffany has a binder that she has been keeping all of the info from the USA Developmental Camp and the Developmental Games, but the morning after she got the email with her son’s selection, she asked him to read over the binder one more time before she put it away. Much to his surprise, he found the letter on the front page.
“I started to read the letter, realizing what it was saying, and proceeded to get a huge smile on my face,” he recalled. “I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I never thought it would ever happen and here was the letter showing it did …and it can.”
As he sat there in disbelief, his first thoughts were gratitude to his mom and father, Ryan.
While his mom has cheered him on in the stands for years, his dad had more of an impact on him on the field. Ryan played offensive line for the South Dakota State University Jackrabbits.
“He (his dad) has shown me how to be a better offensive lineman, a better teammate and how to be a better person,” Brink said.
Brink reflected on his position and why he feels he was selected. Offensive lineman aren’t in the spotlight or catching touchdowns, but he rather the guys in the trenches protecting the quarterback and this is what Brink loves to do.
He described himself as a hard worker, having good technique, a leader and being coachable.
“I have always worked hard to be the best offensive lineman I can be and to be the best teammate I can be,” he said. “My size, as well as my love for the position, has helped make me good lineman. I take pride in bettering myself with training to help our quarterback complete the play.”
As he looks ahead to next week, he is filled with emotions. He realizes that all of his years of playing football have finally come to fruition. A young kid from South Dakota will now step foot on the same field that Tony Romo played on and Ezekiel Elliot calls home.
He explained that being selected taught him how important it is to work hard and neve be satisfied with what he has. All of the athletes participating next week will share his passion for football, which will make being in Dallas a more memorable experience, he said.
“The International Bowl is an opportunity that I never thought I would be able to do,” Brink said. “It is not just the Bowl itself, but the process that gets you there. It’s made up of learning opportunities along the way, from developmental camps to developmental games, to the chance to play against kids from other countries. You not only get to represent your home state but to represent your country, the USA.”
Brink, who has served as captain for the South Dakota Miners and a starter on the offensive line for his middle school football team, the Patrick Henry Panthers, models his game after Pro-Bowl offensive lineman Joe Thomas of the Cleveland Browns.
As hopes to one day follow in Thomas’s footsteps, he knows there a few elements of his game he must improve. Brink said he needs to be better at drive blocking, finishing his blocs and continuing to improve his strength and athleticism.
“I feel as I work harder to better myself I can make great things happen, not only for myself, but also for my team,” he said. “It doesn’t just happen overnight but it takes hard work and discipline. I work out, lift weights and take personal training sessions with an offensive line coach, all with the intentions of making myself a better player.”
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