You Just Never Know – #ItsNeverBad

A few of ‘my’ football players recently attended NMSU football’s “Pro Day.”  Since I wasn’t familiar with such events let me fill you in!  This is where colleges host NFL scouts to assess players and their individual talent.  This is separate from the NFL combine.  The combine is where a select group of college football players get invited to “perform” in front of various NFL teams in Indianapolis.  They run the 40 yard dash, measure vertical jumps, standing jumps, run passes, etc.  It’s all a numbers game; how fast, how many reps, their height and weight.  Most of the time players that attend the combine get drafted. But, you just never know.

Last year Pro Day was the day after I had my port a cath inserted.  I was drugged and tired but needed something else to focus on that day. So, I pulled my son out of school, threw my dad and husband in the car and announced our family was attending.  This year I made the same plan until I woke up with what I think was the flu.  I missed most of the morning due to getting IV hydration but got there just in time to give my sweaty guys a hug.   Now that we have watched it for two years in a row it seems to be obvious who the favorites are.  Most seniors participate, giving them what might be the last shot at achieving their dream.

During the 2013 season I got to know many of the players’ families.  Let’s get real about NMSU football: there aren’t a lot of fans in the stands and even fewer on the road.  I’ve made many great friendships with some of the mommies.  One of the moms is named LaJuana and her son’s name is Cameron.  Cameron played cornerback for the Aggies but got hurt his senior year and spent more time in sweats on the sidelines rather than suited up.  I remember LaJuana looking at me in the stands and rolling her eyes at certain plays. When she wasn’t at game she would text me for updates.  Cam was at Pro Day but it was obvious he wasn’t one of the “favorites” of the scouts that day.  Since Cameron wasn’t from Las Cruces, once he graduated, he left town. I assumed he was back home and that I’d never see  LaJuana or Cameron again.

Because of social media, I kept up with Cam from a distance.  His face literally lights up the room and his smile is just about picture perfect. He gets that from LaJuana.  I’d see his posts from time to time where he would be working out with a smile and “grinding.”  I would think to myself, “Bless his little football heart,” and scroll to the next pic.  His hashtag is #ItsNeverBad. I’m really not sure of the details, but towards the end of the 2014 football season Cameron got picked up by the San Francisco 49ers!  He suited up a few games and then after the season was over was officially signed.  You can literally buy this kid’s jersey.  You just never know.

So let’s sum this up. Cam played for one of the worst college football programs in the nation (sorry but true), was injured most of his senior year, didn’t get to attend the combine, got snubbed at NMSU’s Pro Day, didn’t get picked up as an undrafted free agent at the beginning of the season and by some miracle is now playing for the San Francisco 49ers.  It gets better… After the season was over he signed a three year, $1.3 million dollar contract.  Wait, what???  I mean come on.  It goes to show, you just never know.

I’m not gonna pretend that I have an awesome relationship with Cam because I don’t.  He’s never been to my house, he’s never eaten one of my tasty meals.  He’s just someone that put his head down and never gave up.  He had all of the odds stacked against him and he still believed (kinda like me).  This is why I love this sport.  This is why I love my Aggies.  This is why you simply just never know.  You. Just. Never. Know.

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From one Aggie to another, I wish you nothing but love, luck and continued determination sweet Cameron.  Thank YOU for motivating ME.  Thank you for reminding me #ItsNeverBad.

My Unsung Hero, My Dad

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This was taken in 2003.

One of the many things I like about having my blog is getting to shed light on so many of the awesome people around me. It’s not just since my diagnosis, I’ve always been around awesome people. Hopefully, you’ve gotten to know not just who, but why I hold people close.

It’s time that I get to tell you about my Daddy. Is he perfect? Nope. Have we had an inseparable connection from day one? Nope. Are there better dads in the world? Probably. But, not one that’s better for me.

A few months ago, my husband had been put on crutches due to what we thought was a hip condition. It happened at the very end of my 9th round of chemo, which was the most difficult one yet of this regimen.  Simultaneously, one of my football players left for training camp and I was just about to have a meltdown when I called my Dad.  I think I said something along the lines of “This isn’t fair!” and “When am I (when are WE?) going to get an effin break”?

He reminded me that a fair is a place where you show pigs and ride ferris wheels.  He also told me that I do have a few breaks: my job and my son. He’s so very right. I recently met with Jeremiah’s educators and they said they wished they had a classroom full of kids just like him. My little second grader reads at a 6th grade level and tops the charts in math.  My employers and co-workers continue to blow my mind with compassion and kindness.

My Dad and I share a respect for horses, a love for big black dogs and passion for the Green Bay Packers. He’s the reason I love football. He’s also the reason I’m so grounded. He has a high school diploma and a certificate of horse shoeing, yet is one of the smartest people I know.  He’s taught me to not take myself too seriously and how to laugh. If I could have a drink with any person in the world it would probably be him. Except for Aaron Rodgers. Sorry, Pete.

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Just the other day my Dad told me how proud he was of me, which is a pretty typical of a dad.  But, what was special was that he said, “I’m glad that you are getting some recognition for being a good person, but I’ve known all along.” I too, Dad am proud of you.

I can see past his imperfections and love him for him as he can love me for me. My flaws and all.

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Taken at a 4th of July party a few years back.

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Taken right after my diagnosis on top of his stage coach.