Standing tall

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Amanda Simmons/Press-Tribune

Bossier receiver’s hard work overcomes stereotype

Ask any coach at Bossier High School about Calin Farmer and they’ll tell you all about this special young man.

The freshman split end receiver has the heart of a champion and the determination of a warrior. He knows the ins and outs of the Bearkat football program yet he’s eager to learn more. He’s smart, motivated and maintains a positive attitude.

Amanda Simmons/Press-Tribune
Amanda Simmons/Press-Tribune

Calin isn’t your typical receiver, though. Standing at only 5-foot, two-inches tall…and that’s with cleats on, he joked…Calin doesn’t quite meet the ideal 6-foot height a coach typically looks for in a receiver. Despite his small stature, the 14-year-old has already left a big (and lasting) impression on his coaches.

The Bossier High coaches say what Calin lacks in size, he makes up for in attitude and work ethic.
Calin began playing football at age 8. He started with flag football and backyard football before joining the Rusheon Middle School team in seventh grade.

As a freshman, Calin plays on the JV Bearkat team and dresses out for Varsity games. Though he hasn’t had many opportunities to take the field with the Varsity team, Calin is “always ready” in case that opportunity comes around.

Earlier in the season, Calin had his first chance to lineup with the Varsity offensive line. Even though it was in the victory formation and the quarterback took a knee, Calin said it was a great first experience under the Friday night lights.

That play is one offensive coordinator Brad Bernard remembers to this day.

“It was the last play against Homer and he was just so excited that he got to play,” Bernard said. “If he keeps working hard, he’ll be playing more on our offense.”

Amanda Simmons/Press-Tribune
Amanda Simmons/Press-Tribune

While Calin may not be a physical threat, Bernard said he is a smart player.

“He’s smart enough to get his body in position to make the block,” Bernard explained. “He knows where the ball is going to go and he knows his role in the lineup formation.”

From the beginning, Calin said he never expected to get anything out of playing football. That’s not entirely true anymore.

“I may not be the best, but I play with every thing I have,” Calin said.

First year defensive line coach Steven Carter said Calin is the kind of athlete who is always in the game, whether he’s on the field or not.

“He knows the plays and he knows them well. He’s a very smart player,” Carter said. “He knows he’s not the fastest or the quickest on the field, but technique wise he’s got it. He breaks it down and will do what you ask him to do and give it everything he’s got. You can’t ask for a better athlete than that. I’ve really enjoyed being around him and coaching him. All the coaches enjoy having him on the team.”

Off the field, Calin works just as hard in the classroom. As an honors student, Calin manages to juggle school work with his athletic responsibilities.

“Since I’m in honors classes, we typically have more work to do. You just have to stick to a schedule,” he explained. “We’re out here every day for practice and I plan to be out here every single day.”

Calin also spends time in the weight room, working hard to build up his muscle tone and body shape.

Josh Redden, split end and defensive tackle coach, said the football team comes in the weight room daily during fourth block. Calin, however, has another class during fourth block and must find time on his own to lift weights.

“I’m trying to get faster and bigger. As you can see, I’m a little small for this,” Calin said jokingly.

Redden said it takes a great athlete to maintain such a positive attitude when the odds are stacked against you.

“He does the same lifts as anyone else. We started him off with a light bar and light plates, but he has built his stamina tremendously,” Redden said. “His ability to focus is uncanny and unlike other kids his own age and maybe even some seniors. His size is the limiting factor, but his determination and heart are already there. It’s rare to find that in someone so young. It’s definitely something you don’t see every day.”

Calin has set several personal goals in the coming seasons. He wants to get faster and bigger, get better at the game of football and bond more with his team. While he realizes it will take time to grow, he also understands that he has a choice to make now.

“Size does have an impact, but it’s all about how you choose to see it,” Calin said. “When you’re smaller, you’re harder to hit. You can choose to be weak or you can use it to your advantage.”

Calin said he does get teased about his size. When that happens, he doesn’t let it bother him.

“Sometimes they say stuff, but I choose to ignore it because I prove myself with my skills and show them that I’m big enough to play,” he said.

Looking into the future, Calin hopes to attend college and pursue a degree involving cyber security or cyber programming. He’s got his eye on MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), LSU Baton Rouge and Louisiana Tech University in Ruston.

When asked if he wants to play college football, Calin said it’s a possibility, but he definitely has some growing to do before then.

“I hope so…I just don’t want to stay this little forever,” he said with a smile.