Saturday’s for the Nelson family are usually spent in one place, call it a gridiron gathering. But last weekend was something new, that all too familiar time at the football field, now involved two fields.
“I kind of hoped it would happen, I’m really glad it did happen, but I never really thought about it before it actually did happen," said freshman Kiel Nelson.
Both Kanin and Kiel Nelson were named starting quarterbacks for their respective schools. Kiel, who is a freshman, had his first home start at Dakota Wesleyan, while older his brother Kanin suited up for his first ever start at South Dakota State.
“It was cool, but it kind of got me a little nervous right away. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into," said Kiel.
“I wouldn’t say it was overwhelming, it was just more excitement. I got the news on Thursday, I kind of figured it out throughout the week that that would probably happen. But I got the official news on Thursday and just kind of went with it, I was really excited my family was really excited and I was just able to share that experience with them." said junior Kanin Nelson.
Two brothers, with the same passion, named starters on the same weekend. When they had their numbers called, Kanin and Kiel turned to one another.
“Once he got the news, he called me right away and we talked about that. Just like once I was told, I called him right away. He was the only person I told for that week," said Kiel.
“It’s funny because when I found out my brother was starting, he called me and told me not to tell my parents," said Kanin.
Mom and dad made the 119 mile drive on Saturday for the 1:00 Dakota Wesleyan kickoff, and made it to South Dakota State's 6:00 start just in the nick of time.
“I think my mom and dad have been doing that honestly their whole entire lives while they’ve had us. In high school Kiel was going somewhere for basketball, I was going somewhere, things like that. We played a lot of different sports, they kind of switched roles, you go with mom one time, go with dad one time. That’s just really cool to be able to do that," said Kanin.
“But it’s something that Kanin and I are really proud of, that we have some parents that are really supportive. None of this would happen if they wouldn’t have done the things that they’ve done for us," said Kiel.
When growing up in Mitchell, South Dakota, Kiel turned to his older brother, while they bonded over the game they love.
“I was a senior when he was a freshman, he was actually the holder when I was the kicker and stuff like that, so we got to have our little moments on the field together like that, it was really special," said Kanin.
“Kanin is probably my number one role model in life up to this point, so yeah a lot of my play and how I am and the person that I am, is kind of a reflection of Kanin." said Kiel.
The Nelson’s now have a new Saturday tradition, albeit with a little more driving involved, as Kanin and Kiel continue chasing their dreams.
“It’s really unique honestly, my parents and I were talking too, and they were like I wonder how many parents have a couple sons starting for whatever kind of football team it may be on the same day. Just to think about that, it’s pretty special, I know it was special for them, it was definitely special for Kiel and I," said Kanin.
Both brothers said that they hope to watch one another play on their upcoming bye weeks this season.