Today is the first round of the NFL draft. It is a day that will see several young men’s lives change dramatically. I look forward to watching the NFL draft every year because you get to see their dreams come true as it happens. You see the emotions they go through as they get the phone call from the NFL team that is selecting them. You see the emotions of the families that are there with them. What you don’t see are the countless hours in the weight room, the infinite number of sprints they have run, or the endless hours they spent studying in the classroom. What you don’t see is the countless miles the families put on their cars driving their kids to practice, games, or camps. You don’t see the time the families might’ve had to put in working a second job to pay for equipment or fees. The families do all this to help their children achieve all their dreams. Draft Day is special for them.
When their name is called and the tears flow, you know this is the culmination of a dream that they have had for so many years and worked so hard at. For most of these young men, their dream started when they were children lying in bed. They held onto the dream probably through many ups and downs, successes and failures, until tonight. Tonight their dreams become reality. These are dreams that most of these young men have and they learned to write them down several years ago. Recently, former NFL running back C. J. Spiller was elected to the Clemson University Hall of Fame. Spiller said he wasn’t surprised by this selection because he wrote down his goals and dreams as a seven-year-old in Florida. His mom keeps that same note and has it locked up in a room. He looked at that piece of paper every night and one of his dreams was he wanted to go off to college and leave that program as one of the best ever. I’m sure that the young men selected tonight, on Draft Day, will have a similar piece of paper with their goals and dreams written on it and their moms will keep it forever.
This makes me think about my life and how I arrived at where I am today. I don’t remember if I ever wrote anything down but I do remember that I used to read a lot. As a kid, I was always reading books about adventure, space travel, and explorations. I was always fascinated with the military and read a lot of books about World War II. My favorite books though were mysteries by Alfred Hitchcock. I would spend hours reading these books and loved pouring into the investigation of solving these mysteries. My life up to this point has turned out just like the books that I used to read and the dreams I used to have. I was an officer in the U.S. Army, investigated and solved mysteries as a Special Agent with DEA, and had many adventures in the jungles of South America and on the streets of US cities. Not everything I dreamt about came true in my life though. I, like probably every other sports-minded child did dream of one day playing in the NFL. That dream didn’t materialize….., maybe I should’ve written it down.
A vast majority of the men selected today will feel humbled, honored, and gracious when they hear their name called by the Commissioner. It is a pleasure to see them when they speak give thanks to God, their family, their coaches, and everyone who ever help them achieve this dream. Unfortunately, there are usually one or two who expected to be drafted earlier than they were and are unhappy. When you see them on camera they have a scowl on their face and you can tell that they are angry. Now, I’m sure that they think that they are the best player and feel slighted that so many teams passed them up, I can understand that. What I cannot understand is how they cannot feel gracious enough to put the other feelings aside. I’ve heard it said that less than one percent of all boys playing high school football will make it to the NFL. Just having the talent to be in that small pool should make you one of the most thankful people alive.
When I see people who aren’t appreciative of what they have been given, I become more gracious for what I have. I have been given a wonderful, beautiful life, with a future full of unlimited possibilities. If you can’t be thankful for where you’re at right now in life, how do you expect God to reward you with a better life in the future? One major point that the ungrateful players forget is that no women will be selected tonight. There are women coaches and women referees in the NFL but no women players. I fully believe that soon there will be women players in the NFL; they will experience Draft Day. As the father of two daughters, I can see that women can do anything they set their minds to. They just have to change their mindset and flush out all the negative things they have been told in the past.
Draft Day is special and is going to be a great night for these young men; I can’t wait to watch it. It will be different because of the pandemic but will still be exciting. It will be the culmination of one dream and the beginning of another. They will be checking off one goal accomplished and writing down a list of new goals and dreams they can start working towards. How about you, have you written down your dreams and goals? Are you reading them every day, several times a day? If not, today is a great day to start!
Hood, David. “Hall of Famer: CJ Spiller Takes Wrong Call, Learns He Is in Hall of Fame.” TigerNet.com, TigerNet.com, 22 Apr. 2020, http://www.tigernet.com/story/Hall-of-Famer-CJ-Spiller-takes-wrong-call-learns-he-is-in-Hall-of-Fame-18749.