Fatherhood and Football

I am just finishing up an article on fatherhood which will be featured in the newly released Journal of Family Ministry.  Obviously, the subject of fatherhood is on my mind. So, it is no coincidence that I picked up on the importance of fatherhood from this ESPN story about Jadeveon Clowney, the nation’s #1 high school football recruit.

In the story, Jadeveon speaks about the incredible pressure which comes from an instant entourage of admiring fans hoping to lure you to their schools.  What struck me in the article, however, is not how quickly he rose from a senior in high school to a demigod, rather, what struck me is what Jadeveon had to say about his dad.

Jadeveon’s dad spent 12 years in prison for armed robbery.  Much of the time which Jadeveon has spent been growing up on the gridiron and learning to play high caliber football, his dad has spent behind iron bars in a penitentiary.  Yet, amidst all the accolades, amidst all the fanfare, the hoopla, the adoration, and the famous offers of big-time football—Jadeveon has one fixed goal on his mind.  He wants to please his dad.

As he says of his father,

“He keeps telling me, “Just stay out of trouble.” That’s motivated me a lot. I wanna make him proud.”

Wow!  The kid lets Nick Saban’s calls go to voicemail, while he desperately seeks the approval of his dad.  Fathers, don’t underestimate your sons.  Even when you have been less than perfect as a father, you are still in the role God has assigned as the most significant earthly role in the life of your son.  You are his father.  He gets his identity from you, and he wants you to be proud.

I suspect that Jadeveon’s dad is already exploding with pride, regardless of whether or not his son calls Nick Saban back.


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