I spent more time this weekend watching the NFL Draft than I care to admit. I’m a long suffering Bengals fan and this draft was their opportunity to change the trajectory of the franchise by drafting former Mr. Ohio Football, Athens High School and Ohio State Graduate, Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow. Sadly, as a Bengals fan you assume they’re going to do something to mess things up so I had to watch to make sure they actually made the pick. By 8:15 P.M. on Thursday night I was relieved and excited for the future.
The NFL draft was scheduled to be in Las Vegas, NV this year. Thousands upon thousands of fans would have packed the Las Vegas strip and the players would have dressed in some fashionable suits to walk across the stage when their name was called and give a bro-hug to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Because of social distancing none of that happened and everyone was home. Joe Burrow was in his parents’ house in Athens, Ohio. He sat on a couch with his parents in what looked like their living room. Instead of a suit he wore a long-sleeve t-shirt with the state of Ohio on it and the 740 area code which represents Athens.
Going into the weekend I felt bad for Joe and the players like him. They had dreamed their whole life of hearing their name called and walking across the stage at the draft. They’d worked hard when no one else was watching to get to this point. This was their time and instead they would have to stay home? At first I thought, this is really disappointing. But as I watched the draft Thursday night and again Friday night, and again Saturday afternoon, my thoughts on the whole thing changed. Certainly this draft was different. It wasn’t what the players had envisioned. But it was good. And in some ways maybe it was even better.
Player after player was selected and was able to celebrate one of the biggest moments in their life with those who they were closest too. They sat with parents and siblings in rooms that they were comfortable in and clothes that they might actually wear at another time. Coaches and general managers were at home too and they shared important moments of their work life with their kids and spouse. Some, like former Buckeye Mike Vrabel, had fun with the cameras as his college age children dressed up in some ridiculous outfits as their dad attempted to work. The draft wasn’t what was normally planned. But in it’s own way it was meaningful and in some ways more meaningful than what happened in previous years.
We’d like to gather and do all of our normal things. We’d like to have graduation, prom, 6th grade camp, clap-outs and end of year recognitions and parties. That’s what we do and someday we will do them all again. In the meantime we need to find ways to take what we used to do and do it differently and make it as meaningful and maybe more meaningful than what we normally do. As a school district over the next month that’s what we will be attempting to do. Things can’t be as they normally are. Initially that will be very disappointing to many. But things can still be good and meaningful. Together let’s work to make that happen!
-Trent Bowers, Superintendent
P.S. Congratulations to Worthington Kilbourne Graduate Liam McCullough who signed a contract with the Las Vegas Raiders. Go Wolves!