Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Back in Town and Ready for Football!

Hi everyone! Please excuse my tardiness in sending out a blog since Hawaii – I have been wonderfully busy since returning and am finally all caught up! Going on a vacation or a work trip is an incredible experience filled with many unforgettable memories and important lessons learned. These are the experiences that don’t come around everyday, and we are so lucky to experience them. But once we return home, it is always a challenge to catch up with everything we have missed, while simultaneously moving forward with everyone else! But catching up and then getting ahead of our work is always such a gratifying feeling!!!

It’s great to be back in Colorado, however, my week in Hawaii was truly extraordinary. I met some of the most gracious, kind-hearted children and teenagers who have left a lasting impact on me. As I mentioned in my previous blog, the Youth Clinic Cheerleaders and Players traveled to a different island of Hawaii each day, visiting several schools in the mornings, and hosting a cheerleading/football camps at the end of each school day. Since I have been back in Colorado, I have shared my experiences with friends, family, and some schoolmates as well. A common theme that has emerged as I’ve shared my experiences is a general unawareness of the economic situation in much of Hawaii. When we think of Hawaii, beautiful beaches, endless sunshine, and complete relaxation comes to mind – basically, the perfect vacation spot. In reality, this is only a tiny portion of Hawaii; much of the population struggles to make ends meet and is living with very low-incomes. We traveled to nearly all of the islands, and had the privilege of working with many of the underprivileged kids living there. And these kids are some of the most remarkable people I have come across. They are so grateful for the smallest gesture; a simple “good job” from a football player or cheerleader means the absolute world to them. They are so kind, giving, and excited to have you share a day with them.

One of the greatest things about impacting these children is the inspiration I feel from it. The kids of Hawaii have impacted me as much, and maybe even more so, than I have had on them. When they go home after a day with cheerleaders and football players, they feel special, important, and motivated to achieve their dreams. The memories of the day can last a lifetime for them. And the same goes for me. Now that I have returned home, I often think of the people I interacted with out there; it is so fulfilling to know that I have inspired people and helped them to believe in themselves and reach their goals. It pushes me to work harder in my life and makes me infinitely more appreciative for all the things in my life. My family and friends, my health, happiness, accomplishments, and my education are priceless blessings in my life that I often take for granted. My trip to Hawaii has afforded me the opportunity to take a step back and reflect on the intangible belongings that light up my life – the immeasurable personal effects that give me endless encouragement, laughter, motivation, enthusiasm, and opportunities to achieve my goals.

There is truly no better feeling that knowing you have positively impacted someone’s life – and I have been blessed from this trip to know that I have impacted the lives of incredible children. And I feel so incredibly lucky to say that they have impacted my life and inspired me to be a better person. :)

Ok, enough about my trip! Let’s shift back to some Broncos football. I hope everyone has been having a great February and has been keeping up with the many happenings in the league. Locally, the changes within the Broncos organization have been immense, and it looks like Coach McDaniels is taking charge and inspiring everyone. I think the team, the employees, and the fans are becoming more and more excited everyday to see what McDaniels is going to do with the Broncos. Personally, I cannot wait for the new season to see all his work come to fruition. I think the team is going to be energized, powerful, and ferocious on the field!

Nationally, the NFL Scouting Combine has captured the attention of football fans, and has greatly helped to ease our “offseason slump.” What is the “offseason slump,” you may ask? Well, when the season ends, we are faced with the distressing reality that we have to wait six months or so until our beloved Football Sundays return. It is truly a heartbreaking situation! But thankfully, the combine, free agency and the draft take place through April, alleviating the stress we feel from a lack of football in our lives. So have no fear fans! We’ve got the combine, FA and the draft to keep us occupied!

The NFL Scouting Combine began in 1982 with 163 participants; now over 300 star college athletes attend the week-long event with hopes of stealing the attention of coaches and executives for the 2009 Draft. For all NFL teams, the top priority of the combine is not what you may suspect. Though skill testing is highlighted on television and internet feeds, medical exams are actually the number one priority of the event. In addition to the exams, athletes take part in both physical and psychological tests as well as formal interviews with executives, coaches, and scouts from around the league. This is definitely not an event for any player who cracks under pressure!

Some of you may have noticed the participation of several college athletes who have not earned a college degree. A growing factor in the NFL draft is the desire of collegiate underclassmen to enter the draft without completing a senior year. This year 46 underclassmen have been granted special eligibility for the draft. All 46 players have met the league’s three-year eligibility rule and have submitted a written application to the NFL. In the application, the players are required to renounce their remaining college football eligibility.

Needless to say, there is much excitement ahead in the world of football, so we will have much to talk about in the coming weeks!

Talk to you all soon!

- Romi (2/23/09)