An eight-time Pro Bowl middle linebacker, Brian Urlacher is widely expected to gain entrance into the Pro Football Hall of Fame when he's eligible in a few years, which is not bad for an athlete from Lovington, New Mexico, where his coaches didn't even see college potential in him until his junior year of high school. The Middle School Rules Of Brian Urlacher features the real childhood stories and exploits of young Brian Urlacher and illustrate how they shaped him into the world-class athlete he became. Urlacher's stories will connect with young readers by highlighting the importance of being your best, overcoming adversity and reaching your dreams through discipline and hard work. In this excerpt, we get an example of Brian's sibling rivalry with his brother, Casey, who is 15 months younger.
When Brian was in the seventh grade, both boys signed up to play baseball. In Lovington’s "Major League," brothers were usually placed on the same team to make life a little easier for a parent shuttling them to and from practice.
At tryouts, Casey distinguished himself as a hitter, Brian as a pitcher.
But when the coaches gathered to draft their players, Casey had a request: He didn't want to be part of a package deal with his big brother.
"I don't want to play with him," Casey told his mother.
Casey ended up on the Mariners, and Brian on the Braves. Their teams excelled, although everyone in the family circled one date in particular: June 9, 1990. On that Saturday, the Braves would play the Mariners and -- as fate would have it -- Brian would pitch.
Casey was the cleanup hitter for the Mariners, and he had a man on second, with two outs in the first inning. Brian reared back and chucked a fastball toward the plate.
The first pitch was low and outside.
Brian's second pitch didn’t find the strike zone. Casey didn't even swing.
Brian was getting a bit nervous now.
So on his third pitch, with all might, Brian flung his fastest fastball toward the plate -- and Casey launched it into left center field. The ball landed short of the fence but bounced over it for a ground-rule double.
The Mariners took a 1-0 lead, and Brian was upset on the mound.
Brian hit a harmless dribbler to second base in his first at-bat, and the Braves were still losing 1-0 when Casey got up to the plate again.
With his first pitch, Brian flung his fastest fastball toward the plate -- and drilled Casey on the left side of his body. Brian wasn't alarmed. He just glared at his little brother, who hadn't been able to move out of the way of the pitch quickly enough.
Casey didn’t say anything. He didn't charge the mound. He just strolled to first base.
That made Brian even angrier.
The Mariners won 3-2.
After the game, Brian's mom asked him what happened on the pitch.
"I hit him in the back ... and I don’t feel bad about it," Brian said.
Brian’s mom could barely keep from laughing since Casey wasn’t hurt.
But Casey couldn’t resist chiming in, "It's OK, Mom; we won, and I had a great game."
When they got home, Brian was immediately sent to his room, with no snack and no TV time.
Usually, from their bunk beds in the bedroom they always shared, Brian and Casey would talk for a few minutes after Mom tucked them in for the night. But the night after the big game, both worked extra hard not to say a word.
Brian fumed and Casey gloated.
-- Excerpted by permission from The Middle School Rules Of Brian Urlacher by Brian Urlacher and Sean Jensen. Copyright (c) 2015. Published by Broad Street Publishing Group LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Available for purchase through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes and Google Play. Follow Brian Urlacher on Twitter @BUrlacher54. Follow Sean Jensen on Twitter @seankjensen.