Drew Brees Book Excerpt: 'Coming Back Stronger'

My brother and I really leaned on each other during that time. Our escape from everything was to take a bucket and a net down to the creek that ran through our neighborhood in central Austin to catch minnows and crawdaddies. That same creek ran through a local nine-hole golf course about six blocks away from our duplex. Reid and I even started a business as kids by fishing out the orange and yellow golf balls from the creek, shining them up, and selling them to the golfers. We weren't going to get rich off that deal, but it was enough to buy us baseball cards and Big League Chew at the local convenience store. As good as those times with my brother were, when we got back home every evening after one of our ad-ventures, we would have to face the reality of a broken family.

We were inseparable, best friends. We did have conflict, though. I know it was tough on Reid to have me as an older brother. As much as we both assumed our futures were aligned, we were destined to travel different roads. He excelled in sports, but he didn't want to do the exact same things I did. He wanted to find his own way. Since he didn't play quarterback, people would ask, "Why don't you play quarterback like Drew? Why don't you follow your brother?" He heard that a lot, and it made him mentally tough—that and all the whuppings he took from me. The truth is, I always felt like Reid was tougher than me. Of course, that was my plan all along: I was preparing him.

When Reid went to college, he partied a little too hard, got a couple of tattoos, probably because he knew our parents would not approve. He was rebellious like that. It was his way of separating, becoming his own person.

We're both supercompetitive; we work really hard at things, and when we set our minds to something, we will accomplish it. I'm so proud of him for walking on to play baseball at Baylor. His goal was to earn a scholarship and help lead his team to the College World Series, and that's what he did. The funny thing is, if you'd asked either one of us our dream when we were growing up, neither of us would have mentioned anything about football. We wanted to play in the College World Series. So watching my brother play in Omaha at Rosenblatt Stadium in 2005 ranks up there as one of the proudest moments in my life. My brother was living out a childhood dream for both of us.

In a way, my brother used the pressure people put on him to excel in different areas, like baseball and business. He now lives in Denver and works in sales.

Some things in my life have made me step back and say, "Man, how did my family end up with so many problems?" But I've found that when you start talking to people, everybody's family has something they've dealt with. Every family has issues and is a little dysfunctional. It's not whether you will have problems within your family; it's how you handle those difficulties when they come your way.

Westlake High School

In spite of the divorce, I really didn't have a bad childhood. In fact, in my mind, my life was the greatest I could have asked for. Some things weren't easy to go through, but I wouldn't trade any of it. All the negative and positive mixed together to make me who I am.

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