This article originally appeared in the Friday. Dec. 7, 2018 issue.
The streets of Mission are filled with stories of legends. Young men who put on helmets and shoulder pads and dazzled those watching by doing things thought to be impossible. These athletes are larger than life and get larger as their stories are told through the years.
They become what every child throwing a football around in their backyard, parks, and streets want to be. We all wanted to be Lupe, Nati, Frank, Koy, Jamaar, Earvin. You can name Mission athletes until you are blue in the face, and every name would be worthy. From leading the nation in passing to being top ranked state receivers to playing Division 1 college football to playing in the NFL, our athletes have done it all. And thanks to their continued involvement in our city, we are ensured that the tradition will not end any time soon.
Enter Landry Gilpin. A quiet, unassuming young man who has taken the hopes of the entire city and put them squarely on his back. As Coach Gilpin said in a broken voice, “the kid’s special”. He truly is and what he is doing for the Patriots this season is something truly remarkable and brings us all tears of joy. Landry does not do it alone. The entire team is playing at a level that is almost unheard of.
They leave everything out on that field, and it does not go unnoticed. This was evident in the sea of blue that filled the seats at the Alamodome. As good as this team is, they only go as far as Landry takes them. As fans watch him weave through defenses in what seems to be an unrelenting attack, everyone holds their breath then like a rocket he bolts out of the pack and the crowd explodes. He trusts that his teammates are going to be where they need to be, and they are. He leads with his heart and we all follow. This young man leads the nation in total yards. Not state leader, national leader. The kid that is “too small” is showing the nation what heart and determination truly is.
The entire city of Mission and the rest of the Rio Grande Valley are witnessing one of the greatest performances in our history, and we are cherishing every moment.
As the Patriots enter the 4th round of the state playoffs, they are the underdog once again. And regardless of the outcome, they will play with heart and a grit that is unrivaled. They have to. Their leader will expect nothing less. The Patriots fans and football fans everywhere will sit back and enjoy the ride. We will cheer when they score, lose our voices from screaming so loud, shed some tears of joy and sadness, and in the end, no one will be prouder than we are. These boys have captured our hearts and we are with them all the way.
The Legend of Landry Gilpin is not over by any means, and no matter how the season ends, it is going to be one of the greatest legends of all time. For now, we will let him be what he truly is, a great young man who is a high school senior and loves to play football.