Formerly homeless family finds Port Lavaca a perfect fit (w/video)
Feb. 20, 2014 at midnight
Updated Feb. 23, 2014 at 8:24 p.m.
A Chance Encounter in Port Lavaca
John Limon and his son Bobby talk about a chance encounter they had with a stranger on their first visit to Port Lavaca before moving there.
The same question kept popping up during Bobby Limon's visit to Port Lavaca late last June: "Do you play football?"
In a town where the population plummets for road games and fills its own stadium to the brim, Bobby, 17, was attracting attention with his 6-foot, 3-inch, 315-pound stature.
"We went to H-E-B, and a bunch of people were saying 'Are you coming down here?'" said Bobby, who made the two-day trip from Buda with his sister, Brianna, and his father, John.
The trip was no vacation, though. The Limons were in the midst of trying to pick up the pieces from what had been a difficult eight months.
The unexpected sale of the home they were renting in Buda had left them homeless. Family members chipped in to keep them afloat and gave them a place to stay to keep them off the streets, but the stress continued to mount.
"It was hard," John Limon, 47, said. "I felt bad because the kids slept on the floor, and Bobby and I shared a bed."
To make matters worse, Bobby was barred from playing football because of a dispute with the University Interscholastic League involving a switch he made from Lehman High School in Kyle to Hays High School in Buda after his family lost their home.
"They felt that he [Bobby] was moving for football purposes," his father said. "But it was never about football; it was about life; it was about family."
For the Limons, Port Lavaca was one of six places the family visited in search of a fresh start.
"Bobby kept saying, 'God's going to open a door for us.' ... My daughter kept saying, 'Something's going to happen,'" John Limon said.
But the small coastal town proved to have answers that others did not.
John Limon found work as a paraprofessional at Jackson Roosevelt Elementary School teaching a computer skills class for children, and Bobby's ineligible UIL status was lifted after a District 30-4A Executive Committee hearing, leaving him free to play for Calhoun High School.
"My little angels were right," John Limon said.
Bobby's prowess on Calhoun's offensive line helped the team make its second trip ever to the Class 4A, Division II semifinal game in 2013.
A 56-21 loss at Reliant Stadium in Houston against Brenham High School dashed the Sandcrabs' hopes for a state championship title, but Bobby, a senior, had already caught the eye of a few colleges.
And Feb. 5, a mere 16 months after watching his family lose its home, Bobby signed to play the sport he loves for University of the Incarnate Word, a Division I school in San Antonio.
This accomplishment has not broken Bobby's focus. On a typical day after class, he can be found in Calhoun's weight room with his father, hammering out a variety of weight exercises designed to make him quicker and stronger for the games ahead.
"I dream to be in the NFL, and I'm going to push myself until I get there," Bobby said. He plans to study kinesiology, which is the study of human movement, to prepare for a future as a football coach.
On a crisp evening in late January, John Limon waited outside the weight room for Bobby as the sun set over the Port Lavaca skyline.
"It's been an amazing turnaround for us," John Limon said. "My kids can now be kids; we have a roof over our heads. We love it here."