Big brother arc, entering phase II


That’s what this is all going to be. So, disclaimer, I guess. 

Let me start by introducing the man in question. Brennan “Brenny” Lee. 6-foot-1, 215 pounds, according to the Braham football program, but he and I both know that that isn’t true and he is shorter than me. Brenny is an offensive and defensive lineman and captain for our hometown football team, and the hardest working person I know. 

Brenny is my only sibling, which is fine, and I couldn’t ask for a better brother. But his birth has tasked me with one of the most impactful roles I will ever hold in life. Being an older brother. For some people, having a younger sibling just means that there is a little kid following you around, imitating you and annoying you for most of your life. Which is kind of true. He has probably pissed me off more than most people have in my lifetime. But now Brenny is a senior in high school, which we all know comes with a lot of emotion and changes on the horizon. 

The term “brother” is thrown around a lot these days. By technical definition, a brother is a man or boy in relation to other sons and daughters of his parents. But by a broader definition, a brother is someone you get to watch grow up beside you, interact with and cheer for. A big brother is supposed to be there to offer advice, support and love, unconditionally. But most importantly, you are a role model to them. 

It was easy for me when I was still in high school and could see him every day. But since I have been away, I have seen him grow into a strong, driven and confident young man. Watching him play in his first football game of the year, a lot of things were put into perspective for me. Brenny was dealing with an ankle injury that was clearly affecting him in pregame warmups. Being the tough guy that he is, he played through it. But did that affect his play?

Of course not. They still won, 50-6.

This goes way beyond football. Seeing the dedication and commitment he puts into everything he does makes me a proud big brother. This whole process of having a brother that is a senior has caught me by surprise in terms of how emotional it can be. I can’t believe it has been over two years since that was me going through all the same “lasts” that he is about to go through. But now, I get to cheer again for someone who reminds me so much of myself, my dad, and everything that we stand for as a family. 

Life is a journey, but the most important thing you can bring with you as you continue to make your way is family. I could not be more proud of where I come from, who raised me, and for this younger brother who has shown me what it means to worry, love, cry, laugh and trust.

A brother is one of God’s greatest gifts to us as humans. A forever teammate. I know he will do amazing things in his life. This is only the beginning. And again, as a big brother, I could not be more proud. Maybe there will even be a little bit of Braham football coverage in this newspaper, especially when he leads his team to the Class 1A state championship.

Header photo: When I look at myself in the mirror, I wonder if I make a difference in the world. But because I have a brother, the answer to that question is always yes. (Courtesy Hayden Lee)

Write to Hayden Lee at

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