BlogEd

Family, Faith & Fun

National Signing Day: A Father’s Lesson

February 1st is “National Signing Day.”  It is the first day in which a high school senior can sign a binding Letter of Intent to play football in college. After months and sometimes years of recruiting, the hype and drama culminate on this special day as millions of deeply devoted college football fans tune in to learn which athletes have officially committed to their favorite school.

To be honest, I haven’t paid a whole lot of attention to National Signing Day in years past.  But I certainly have this year.  You see, my youngest son is part of the hype and drama. CBS Sports (MaxPreps) lists him as one of the top pro-style quarterbacks in the nation.  He is also projected as a high draft pick in the Major League Baseball draft this June.  But first, on February 1st, he will excitedly sign his letter of intent to play football and baseball at what we affectionately call, “The U.”  This is very good news for me. Half my wardrobe has the “U” on it.

To both my wife and son’s chagrin, however, it appears I have gotten caught up in all the hype.  There are at least a dozen or so fan-based websites devoted to University of Miami athletics and dozens more dealing with the MLB draft.  Few articles or discussion boards where my son is mentioned go by without coming to my attention.  And while the vast majority of articles and comments are very positive, a tiny few are negative. And what is a father to do when uninformed nincompoops make disparaging remarks about his son?

Well, in the way of a confession, I’ll admit that I have cleverly disguised my name and relationship to my son and have responded in anonymity to a few of the comments made by knuckle-headed bloggers and fans.  Using my highly developed skills in sarcasm and derision, I not only put those misanthropes in their places, but questioned their very intelligence for even thinking something negative about my son.

Then, and this is where I blew it, I proudly showed my wife and son some of the blog posts and comments (without revealing my cleverly disguised message-board name). I was confident they would be pleased how a total stranger was coming to his defense

To my great surprise, however, they were both able to instantly determine each one of my blog-post replies despite my cleverly disguised name.  Then, after reading my acrid comments, they would turn and look at me with an eye-narrowing “what is wrong with you?” glare.  “What?” I answered, trying in vain to look innocent.

After a brief discussion where various degrees of my intelligence were questioned, a beautiful moment took place, one I will long cherish.  My son put his hand on my shoulder, looked me in the eyes and with an assuring and loving smile said, “It’s ok, Dad.  I can take it.”

It’s a beautiful thing to see your child grow up with steely fortitude ready to face a hostile world.  It’s that much more amazing to realize they are willing to step into the brutal world of college football where one can turn from hero to goat in an instant.  I have watched in admiration as Jacory Harris, the University of Miami quarterback these past years, has skillfully and graciously managed such a hostile environment.  “It comes with the territory,” is the common view.

And now a new wave of aspiring athletes will face the glaring spotlights and the roar of cheering or jeering fans.  As a Dad, I can’t imagine ever overcoming the sense that I have to protect and defend my children. There are, after all, a few loud cynics out there who like to drag as many people as they can down their sad and lonely road.  But for now, with ample threats from my wife and son, I have retired my clever pseudonyms.  And when I feel that desire to set another pundit in his place, I’ll remember that assuring smile, “It’s ok, Dad. I can take it.”

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15 thoughts on “National Signing Day: A Father’s Lesson

  1. Carmen Gordon on said:

    Ed, it is a proud moment indeed when our children show more mettle and maturity than we do. Very humbling.

  2. Pingback: David Thompsons Dads blog

  3. The Don on said:

    As a Hurricane since 1989, I am very proud to have your son grow at my beloved University. Through thick and thin, he’s about to become a member of THE most prestigious “Family” in college football. It’s a privilege and an honor that I hope he takes seriously.

    There’s a lot of universities, but there’s only one “U”.

  4. Great post, best of luck to your son and your family wherever the future may lead. I for one am happy to have David as a potential Hurricane if he chooses to play football over MLB. Regardless the decision, he is very blessed to be in the position that he is in. Take care and God bless.

  5. Ed

    I too am a father of a 2012 commi to the Ut. I have walked in your shoes. Unfortunately, the papa bear in us comes out when one of our kids are attacked. I’ve written several blistering responses to uninformed posts only to regret responding after I’ve cooled my jets.

    I would like to pass on congratulations to you and your wife for raising such a fine man. I had the opportunity to meet him this past June at the U and was thoroughly impressed with him. I beleieve our boys will be fine. They are in good hands.

    I look forward to meeting you sometime soon.

    Sincerely,

    Jack O’Donnell

    • Ed Thompson on said:

      Jack,
      Congratulations to you as well. And I certainly agree, our boys will be in good hands. Coach Al brings a great deal of integrity matched by enthusiasm and hard work. These are exciting days. I look forward to meeting you in the near future as well. Go Canes!
      Ed T
      P.S. Oh…and please remind Jake he is not allowed to hit the QB’s.

  6. Ed,

    I hope you don’t judge the Miami fans by a few morons. Every fan base has them.

    That being said I remember watching your sons highlights after his JR year and it reminded me alot of Tim Tebow’s video in high school. (I’d say that is definately a major compliment). I think he will do well at the U in both football and baseball, and judging on a recent youtube video he could probably help out the basketball team as well.

    I’m sure you take alot of pride in the fact that you raised such a great athlete and more importantly such a great young man.

    • Hi Keven,
      Thanks for your note. And don’t worry, we certainly do not judge UM by a few critics. We love the U and are very proud of the opportunity David has been given to go to school there and play a little ball. This blog was more in the way of counseling for me (a Dad) as I learn to deal with all this “stuff” than a criticism of a few naysayers. Not much we can do about them. It’s me I’m worried about… 🙂

  7. Cane Grad 93 on said:

    Gentleman, not only have your son’s signed on with a tremendous football program being led by some of the best people you can ask for… but they are also stepping foot onto an amazing campus full of some of the birghtest and unique students in the entire nation. The University of Miami will be a very bright light to guide them on their journey into manhood. I look forward to meeting you both around the Gables and at some of the tailgates… you will soon be family!

  8. Dr. Joe M. Falcon on said:

    I can not wait to see your son dress out for us both in Football & Baseball. I’m a UM Alum class of ’94 and your son and Family enbody all the principals and values that make our U so special. I’ld welcome you aboard, but in truth being that my family and I local, you’ve been welcomed into our CANE family along time ago. It’s been great watching your son reach all the achievements he has acheaved, and it’s been impressive to see the class and modesty (wich he learned at home) inwich he has handled himself with. Congradulation to you and your wife for raising such and outstanding young man, and to all of us CANES for adding another quality person into our family. GoooOOoo C A N E S !!!

  9. Michael Rodriguez on said:

    Ed, great write up. I am an alumnus of the University of Miami. I was a freshman in 1983 when this whole train was picking up steam. I appreciate your self-deprecating approach. Sounds like David has his head on straight, which is something you and your wife should be proud of. I hope David is able to enjoy the collegiate experience at a world-class school like Miami. I can tell you, my experience there changed me for the better
    But if your boy ever does take the reins as the starter, remember that he most popular guy on any team is usually the second string QB. So, just prepare yourself. Best of luck to you and yours.

    • Thanks Michael. We are very proud of David (and our other two kids). We’re all very excited about UM, the school, coaches, and thh great campus atmosphere. How’s the food? Dave’s a little nervous: Mom’s a great cook!

      • Michael Rodriguez on said:

        I was not a student-athlete, just a student. The food for us was fine and plentiful. I’m sure his fare will be better. It won’t be mama’s cooking but I’m sure he’ll be well taken care of. Good thing is that you’re not too far to have him over for a home cooked meal from time to time.

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