Several "firsts" this year at our 7th annual Friday Night Football Fever Signing Day Dominos Pizza Party. First time we've had two active NFL players speak to the recruits. First time we've had a Super Bowl ring to show the players. First time we've had a former Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year in attendance. And the "last first:" leftovers.
Our friends at Dominos delivered 40 tasty pies. Even with 21 big ol' football players, a few coaches, and a few dozen parents, we still had enough left over to share with the rest of the WSFA gang.
Former Alabama State stars Reggie Barlow and Tyrone Rogers told the players what they can expect once they get to campus. It's one thing to hear parents and coaches tell you how important it is to take advantage of your opportunity to get a college education, but when two guys in the National Football League are talking, you could've heard a pepperoni drop.
Reggie even brought the Super Bowl ring he won last year with Tampa Bay.
The Good Book says, "to him who has been given much, much will be required."
Reggie and Tyrone have been blessed with marvelous athletic ability, strong work ethics, and the lifestyle that comes with being a professional football player. What are they doing with what they've been given? Giving back They spend many days during the offseason talking to students about the importance of education. And it's not just talk. Reggie earned his degree during his playing days. Tyrone is finishing his requirements and will be a college grad in a few months. Great role models!
Luverne coach Mike DuBose brought his star player, Chester Adams. "Super Chester," perhaps the state's best offensive lineman, signed with Georgia. The room got quiet again, when Coach DuBose, who led Alabama to the '99 SEC Championship, told the players to prioritize in this order: faith first, family second, education third, and football fourth.
Coach DuBose reminded the players that they are only one play away from their football careers being over. Whether that happens this fall or in 15 years, they need to be ready.
When it comes to recruiting, Alabama's Mike Shula is the SEC's "rookie of the year." Shula signed most of the state's top players, including five who came to our party (Travis McCall, Kevin Hamilton, Drew Davis, Trent Davidson and Antoine Caldwell.) Talk about some big fellas. I can't wait to see what these guys look like after a few years in the new weight room in Tuscaloosa. Could be scary for the rest of the SEC.
I've witnessed a lot of impressive performances at Saint James over the past year. A state championship in volleyball. A football team that threw the ball all over the field and advanced far into the playoffs. Boys and girls basketball teams that could both end up in Birmingham, if the ball bounces just right.
But the best performance I've seen was the 2004 Cabaret at the Saint James Performing Arts Building . Any evening that begins with Leslie Bailey's cooking (she of Silver Spoon Cafe and WSFA's "Hey Leslie, What's Cooking?" fame) is bound to turn out right.
What followed was 90 minutes of wonderful singing, costumes and choreography.
Choral director Lis Donaldson and her cast of 60 are to be commended. When I found out they pulled it off after just 15 rehearsals, I was blown away. Bravo!