Colin Kaepernick

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Colin Kaepernick, Character Insights

When the San Francisco 49ers, under the leadership of their talented quarterback Colin Kaepernick, beat my Atlanta Falcons in the 2013 playoffs, let's just say I didn't fully appreciate them. But having a brother and son in California, I just had to pull for Kaepernick in the Super Bowl, and decided to get to know him a bit.

What an interesting fellow!

Here are some highlights that coaches and teachers may find useful in teaching character and life skills.

Great at Several Sports

Kaepernick was nominated for all state in football, basketball, and baseball his senior year in high school. He also loved playing competitive four square with his buddies in high school.

About Those Tattoos

His tattoos are mostly bible verses, from Psalms. According to his dad, "He was baptized Methodist, confirmed Lutheran and went to a Baptist church in Reno." (Reno is where he attended college.)

On Setting Goals

In the fourth grade, he wrote a letter to himself. In it, he said he planned to be 6-foot-4 inches (he nailed it). He also wrote:

"I hope to go to a good college, then go to the pros and play on the Niners or Packers, even if they aren't good in seven years."

His Pet

When he was 10, he got a pet turtle, which he could hold in his hand. Now the turtle, named Sammy, is 115 pounds.

On Working Hard When You Don't Feel Like It

Although he played well in high school, no colleges wanted to offer him a football scholarship. But finally, after football season his senior year, some assistant coaches from Nevada dropped in to see him play basketball.

"Colin, a shooting guard, jumped center, got the tip, took a backdoor alley-oop pass and barely missed a dunk attempt. One coach turned to the other and said, 'That's our guy.' Kaepernick was playing with a 103-degree temperature."

"Colin once pitched a no-hitter, rode the team bus back to Pitman [his high school] and was taken directly to the hospital with pneumonia."

On Learning

"Colin always had to sit in the very front of the class," says Amy Curd, his Math Analysis (pre-calc) teacher, now Pitman's assistant principal. "He always volunteered to do problems. He would work a problem on the board and (jokingly) sign his name and (uniform) number. ... Whenever I told students they could choose new seats the next day, Colin would run from his previous class to make sure he got the front seat. ... When he was in the classroom, he was in the classroom. He always wanted to be the best math student in the class. Even when he got a 96 or 98 on a test, he'd come up after and want to know what he did wrong."

On Having a Good Reputation

"Just before the draft, an ESPN researcher gathering info on Kaepernick asked coach Harris about the tattoos. Harris told her, 'Look, he's a 4.3-GPA guy, from Wisconsin, with a pet tortoise. If you're looking for a story about a player overcoming the thug life, you've got the wrong guy.'"

"Trouble? Mischief? None. As in: zero. No chewing-gum-in-class incidents, not a single tardy. Nada. Zip ... until Kaepernick's last day at Pitman, when the dean of students caught Colin wearing a non-authorized cap and confiscated it. Seriously."

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Colin Kaepernick Character