Imagine being an 11-year-old kid and having your parents tell you one day that you are moving nearly across the world to a foreign, mysterious land surrounded by ocean.
It's not as if Spencer Wilson's parents were in the military or another form of work that had the ever-looming possibility of moving. His dad was an attorney and his mother was a hospital executive -- seems like pretty stable jobs to settle into, huh? Not for the Wilsons.
Guy and Jane Wilson wanted a different life for their two boys, one that wouldn't include an upscale lifestyle with luxury cars at age 16 that many of their friends had, and their parents had the means to get for them. So they moved the family to a simpler, less materialistic place -- the naturally beautiful island nation of New Zealand.
Spencer Wilson played rugby for Christchurch Old Boys Club, which feeds a lot of its alumni to the "All Blacks", which is New Zealand's national rugby team and one of the world's best.
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When the Wilsons moved back to the States to get their sons better educations than New Zealand could offer, they didn't want to return to the Phoenix area for the same reasons they left, so they settled in Lantana, which is a small community near Argyle, Flower Mound and Denton and feeds into Denton Guyer, which at the time of the family's move, was a first-year school that hadn't even played a varsity football game yet.
By this point, everyone knows about Guyer's "Cinderella" season last year, which saw the Wildcats go from 1-19 in their first two seasons to 12-3 and a trip to the Class 4A Region I state semifinals, where they lost to Longview, 41-30, in a great game that Guyer led entering the fourth quarter.
A lot of that turnaround had to do with Wilson, who moved from linebacker his sophomore year, to defensive end his junior year and finally to defensive tackle with some moonlighting at end during his senior year. Last season, en route to earning Class 4A all-state honorable mention honors, Wilson had 61 tackles with 24 coming behind the line of scrimmage. He also led the team with 4 1/2 sacks and 34 quarterback hurries. Now, he will play football for Navy, after choosing the Midshipmen over a chance to return to his rugby days and play at Cal, the nation's top collegiate program.
So what was better? The shocking turnaround in his final season at Guyer or winning a national rugby championship at Christchuch? Simple.
“From what we came from and the work and sweat we put into it, it makes it so much better,” he told the Denton Record-Chronicle. “It’s hard to explain when you go through such hardships and it all comes together. It was really amazing. I’ll never forget it, ever. I spent so much time working out with blood, sweat and tears and just seeing it all pay off. It was so much sweeter. In New Zealand, we were always really good. It was expected that we’d be good.”
Adam Boedeker is a sports writer/award-winning blogger for the Denton Record-Chronicle. He talk Thai real well.