2018-02-11 / Sports

THE PRESSBOX

Making the tough choices

National Signing Day was Wednesday and locally we had more than 36 kids make commitments to play college sports. Genesee County had the largest number of signers with 18 at Grand Blanc, 14 at Davison, two at Atherton and one at Flushing. In the county, just Lapeer invited us to a ceremony for one athlete.

If you missed the ESPN broadcast celebrating National Signing Day and some of the nation’s top recruits, you certainly have seen by now the live loop of Jacob Copeland, the No. 5-ranked wide receiver and No. 40-ranked in ESPN’s 300. Three hats were positioned on the table in front of Copeland – Tennessee, Alabama and Florida. He made his announcement of Florida live and his mom shook her head, got up from the table and walked right in front of the TV cameras, leaving the live broadcast. The ESPN announcer asked Copeland who just walked out and he replied, stunned, “my mom”.

Wow. What a way to show support for your child. Seems mom wanted Copeland to choose Alabama. She was wearing a Crimson Tide sweatshirt and knit Tennessee ski cap. Other family members wore Alabama and Tennessee gear as they stood behind Copeland. Copeland later tweeted that if anyone knew his mom that was her, “always making a show”. She did return to the press conference and hugged her son, but her theatrics spoke volumes. Her disappoint overshadowed her son’s biggest day of his life to this point. Should he ever get married, watch out for the bride and her family.

We often write in our column spaces about parents who are living vicariously through their children, or who are way too involved in their kids’ sports choices and decisions. This mom is a Poster Child for that exact topic. Copeland answered questions on air as the vacant chair was quickly filled by a male family member, looking shocked at what had just happened. He said he was up all night, crying over his decision and finally just followed God and his heart and chose Florida. He said on-air that “I can’t go with my mom, I have to go with my heart.”

Seeing any child move on to the college level is a reason for celebration. Copeland’s mom wasn’t the only one showing her displeasure as another mom made the ESPN highlight reel after hanging her head and shaking it in disbelief when her son chose Georgia over Alabama. This is their choice, parents. Not yours. You had one job, as they say on ESPN. Show up, put a great big smile on your face, and be proud of your child. To take away from that special moment, what a shame!

They can poke all the fun in the world at what happened. I just felt bad for young Mr. Copeland and the other athlete. The looks on the audience members faces in the bleachers and the loud gasps from the family members of the two boys said it all. The ESPN announcers were also dumbfounded at both sites and had to skip a few beats on live TV. Way to go, moms. You just ruined a very special moment for your sons.

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