Father-son duo from Alden both play for the Albert Lea Grizzlies
ALDEN — For Kirk and Zack Peterson, football has been a part of their lives for years. Like most father-son duos, they bond over the game, whether it be watching games on TV, discussing their favorite team strategies or Kirk Peterson watching from the sidelines when Zack Peterson played for Alden-Conger. However, the Petersons share one family football experience that not many others can say they have: They are both teammates for the Albert Lea Grizzlies squad.
Kirk Peterson, now 46, started playing for the Grizzlies when he was 40 years old. At the time, Zack Peterson and his sister, Lacy, were water technicians for the team. After playing for three years, Kirk Peterson was unable to continue due to some nagging injuries that forced him to stop his workout routine.
The father said he fell out of football shape and wasn’t able to get back into a routine, until his son asked him to rejoin the team — this time with him by his side.
“Many different things led to that point, but one day Zack came to me and said he has decided that he was going to play for the Grizzlies next season, and he wanted me to play as well,” Kirk Peterson said. “All of a sudden, all the things that had led me to where I was changed, and I had one of many new goals to attack.”
The Grizzlies would play their first game at the Winter Pigskin Classic at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis during the first weekend of October.
At 288 pounds, Kirk told Zack he would only play in that game if he could get himself down to 215 pounds. He hit the mark one week before the game.
“I loved it,” Zack Peterson said. “Not many people can say they played football with their father. Even though I didn’t play much in the dome game, I still had an amazing time. What made that game even better is a lot of family came to watch and my friend came also.”
Kirk Peterson said it was hard to describe how he felt as he stood on the same field as his son. Throwing a block for him, setting the edge and just talking on the sideline after a big play is something he’ll never forget.
“I can’t describe what it felt like to sit in that locker room at U.S. Bank Stadium and watch my son strapping on his pads, knowing that I was going to get a chance to step onto the football field with him,” Kirk Peterson said. “I think I was actually the last one dressed and onto the field that day, simply because it was a moment that in all reality I wanted to relish forever.”
Even though playing with his son is a memory that he will cherish for a lifetime, Kirk Peterson said his favorite football memory has nothing to due with suiting up in pads at all. His favorite football pastime is playing with both his son and daughter in the backyard.
“My best memories involve both of them in the backyard playing one-on-one, Dad as quarterback, and them switching offense and defense making up their own plays they wanted to run,” Kirk Peterson said.
Both Kirk and Zack Peterson agreed their favorite aspect about the game of football was the bond formed between teammates and the teamwork that it took to be able to win games.
“My favorite thing about playing is when you and your team are all connecting and on the same page,” Zack Peterson said. “It makes football way more fun because you win games when you are all playing as a team.”
Kirk Peterson credits his son and daughter with helping him stay on the team, saying if it weren’t for them being so involved from an early age, he might have just played one season and been done.
Now, on top of being on the board of directors for the team, Kirk Peterson plans to continue playing alongside his son when the Grizzlies start their next season in the spring. Zack Peterson said he plans to play for the Grizzlies for many years to come.