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06/18/10 – T.E.A.M. Elam (1)



DAY ONE!

I’ll be sharing with you day by day, before, during, and after the event.

Alright, so, when I finally woke up Thursday around 12:30PM, my parents were very cool with letting me sleep in because we both knew I wanted the event to come as fast as possible, and the way to do that, would be to sleep through your day. So, after having a salad on Thursday for lunch, I decided to go to my website. I knew I had to get the audio interview ready with Isaiah Ekejiuba, but I basically had most of it done, I just was reviewing, spell checking, and looking it over, and listening to it for the 23rd time. I’m not lying. So, I decided to take a break and go play the best football game on the market, Backbreaker, but I only got to play one game before I came back and talked to some friends on Facebook, and started looking up pictures and statistics of Abram (as he was the only player I thought would be attending the Thursday event). I didn’t want to forget what he looked like or have him walk right by me at the event, and act dumbfounded. It’s 3 o’clock, my mom tells me, we’re going to be leaving at 6:15, the event starts at 7 and we live around 45 minutes away by car, I truly want to be one of the first ones there. I tell my mom, we’re going to have to stop so I can pick up a notepad and a pen, I already made my business cards to hand out. We decide we’re going to leave at 6 instead. My dad comes home from work around 4, and I’m excited, so excited that I go put on my khakis and button-down shirt. My parents make me take it off and remind me that it’s only 4… So, after sitting and deciding what to write down, I decide on looking back at twitter, and I’m just sending tweets on how excited I am. Alright, so it’s finally five o’clock, meaning it’s time to get ready, I shower, and I go to get changed.

Okay, 5:55PM, I will be meeting and talking with an NFL player, something that I would have never dreamed that would happen because of what I have accomplished with ProInterviews. I’m excited to meet Mr. Govan, the man who hosted the event who runs a foundation called DreamChasers which helps people plan events, and even more Abram, I’ve talked to him on twitter, and he promised a photo with me, and now I think there’s no reason he wouldn’t do one. We’re finally in the car, first stop picking up my “reporter materials”, I walk into the store wearing a tie, I get a look like, who are you, I walk down, I debate about what I want because of my five dollar budget, but I get what I need two pens, and a half-sized, black-spiral-bound notebook. I pay, and walk out, find the car, and hop inside. We’re officially on our way, 6:10. We’re on our way, my dad’s talking to my mom, I send some tweets using my dad’s blackberry, I’m really looking forward to it. I also have to listen to my parents constantly ask, how do you pronounce his name, “Abram or Abe, Elam” It’s not that hard. Anyways, Let’s go.

So, we get to the shopping center twenty minutes early, I’m ready to find Capital Grille, however my parents have other plans, we drive around for five minutes, and my mom decides to run in some store to buy my dad some candles. It’s 6:50, and we decide to drive around the shopping center for like five minutes because we can’t find the sign. Oh, there it is, look, nope… it’s not, Dad, common!! I’m really eager and excited to go. Alright, so we finally arrive, I realize first thing, valet parking. I’ve never been to a Capital Grille before, however, my parents have been in one before, we debate whether to valet park or not, we decide, why not. The man takes our car, and we all walk together, originally we walk into the front door, but we turn back around, and see people on the left of us, and they ask, “Are you hear for Abram Elam event?” I say, yes, and we introduce ourselves, and I register our names as one name, ProInterviews. We get our pictures taken by Nate Richardson Photography, and I talk to the guy, introduce myself. We then, walk around. I realize there is an inside area and outside area. Outside seemed like where the food was, the inside area had a bar, and it was where the silent auction was set up. We talked, I met some people. I met a local news anchor and his wife who were both very cool and interesting to talk to. I gave them my card. My parents started trying wines, and I felt like I got to talk to people and see what was actually going on, we were early, but I loved every bit of being early, looking at signed jerseys, and wondering why I did not see any Abram Elam jersey. More people start arriving.

Oh well, 7:30, and Abram arrives. I’m shocked to see him. He walks in by himself, caught up by other people, I go over with my parents behind me, and say, “Hey Abe”, he’s a true gentlemen, shakes my hand and says, You’re Max Strauss, ProInterviews, but then, he lets me introduce my parents, and I do. We get our photo in while we’re all in the midst of talking, but everyone wants to talk to Abe and thank him, so he walks away, saying hi to more people. All I can think of afterwards is “Class Act”. I see a man in the back, wearing a white-golf hat, and I realize he’s really built, I go over to talk to him a bit, and I ask him what he does, he ends up telling me, he won’t. I’m curious, I walk away and talk to more people. I go see Abe again, and I ask him, who’s going to be here? He goes C.J. Mosley (a name I know from his Jets days), and Atari Bigby, and I realize he’s one of the hardest hitting safeties in the league, and a player for the Packers.

I see C.J. walk in, and Abe walks over and introduces him to me, what an honor that is. At that time, I have no idea where my parents are. I talk to C.J. for some time. My parents walk over, my dad and mom introduce themselves, and I talk to my dad about how C.J. was a beast when the Jets needed him to be. We talk some more, just about who I am, I take down his email address, hoping we can do an interview later. He agrees to do one, I’m honored. We take a picture, and before you know it, I have to move on, and talk to the man, that let me come to the events on Thursday and Saturday!

I meet Mr. Govan, the man behind Dream Chasers who has put in a lot of hard work these past weeks including dealing with my phone calls that basically occurred every three days. We finally met, and we talked to him. We get a picture as well. I’m thinking about sending a tweet, but instead, I realize, I can not be rude, but I go get a Sprite, and drink it real quick, while I meet other people, including Abe’s lawyer, and also Abe’s high school coach. Abe’s high school coach was pretty cool, he also talked about Jacoby Ford (WR) and John Carney (Kicker).

I go back over to Govan, and ask him, “Which one is Atari?” He points him out. I grab my dad, and we go meet Atari. He’s an awesome guy. He’s laid back, but that’s what you like about him. I explain who I am, and we get a quick photo in. All three players at the event, checked. Got the photos, great. Now, I talk to Atari, and he’s just relaxing, and I sit down, and I go, so can I get a pound it, randomly, I don’t know why, I just thought it’d be cool, because they do that on the field with their teammates. So I ask, but before I received, he was like, you have to explode afterwards though, and I knew what that meant, so I said, “No Doubt”. And the magic occurred. I also introduce myself to Robert “Beetle” Bailey, president of Rosenhaus Sports, and ex-NFL player himself. He tells me, “I am before your time,” this motivates me to do research later, so I know who I’m talking to. My parents then, come over and ask me if I want to eat. I tell them I have lost my appetite to be in an area with three NFL players. I get myself another sprite, and drink it real fast, and look at the guy, he knows, and fills me up again…. Yes, too bad they didn’t have cranberry juice to go along with it. (If you followed me for a long time, you’d understand that, if not, well, just ask, and you’ll learn.)

Abram decides to call everyone together to the room inside, we watch the video that I have watched oh, so many times. Afterwards, Ted White (the news anchor) gives a brief introduction to Abe himself. Abram thanks us all for coming out and showing support and starts off by reminding us, “It is all about the kids.” Before I start to look around, I immediately notice Abe being teary-eyed, it’s sad, but they show hope, and I see how everyone is squeezed in closely so they can all listen to Abram talk. It’s about 50 people, so we can still breathe. listen to Abram talk. He then, proceeds and talks to us about what his organization does, and how they are trying to give these kids positive influences and teach them how to persevere. It’s very heartwarming to see an NFL player supported by two great friends, on just the first night alone. Abram hands out awards to all the Sponsors. He then states, let’s make this the “Best Weekend Ever!”, and I really think he made it that for the kids. His speech is over, and some people leave.

So, I just had a brilliant idea! Why not get a picture with all three of the NFL players. We did just that!

My parents call me over and tell me it’s almost time to leave. I feel this pain, I don’t like it. It’s probably because what I just realized… The night is sadly coming to an end. I look around, take some glimpses and write down some things to remember, I thank the players. I remind myself that there is a bowling event tomorrow night, which I won’t be able to attend because I’m going to the movies with a friend, his dad, and my dad. I still challenge Mosley to a game of bowling, hoping that I’ll be able to convince one of my parents to reschedule and take me bowling tomorrow. We all leave. Right when I turn my head, my stomach growls really loudly. We decide to quickly stop at five guys, and I get something to eat.

Now, we are on our way home, and I ask my mom and dad. I get permission from them, now they have to call up my friend’s dad and ask if it’s alright with them. They say they’ll call us back to see if it works in their schedule. IT DOES! I’m going bowling tomorrow night!!! GOOD LUCK C.J. !! HE IS SO GOING DOWN!!!! –Then again, the last time I bowled was three years ago…

DAY TWO!

Waking up around 11AM, I had three things on my agenda for the day. Working out, posting the 27th interview, the first ever AUDIO interview with Isaiah Ekejiuba, and beat C.J. in bowling tonight! So, I decide to grab something to eat, I honestly don’t remember what it was, and I realize it probably doesn’t matter. Atari and C.J. and Abram will be here tonight, but will any other athletes be bowling tonight as well? I hope so. I really have no idea. I did find out Rosenhaus Sports will be showing up tonight. So, let’s fast forward some hours… after my workout.

It’s around 3:20PM, and I just finished revising the interview and making sure the audio interview is correct. It’s online. I’m still looking forward to tonight, I’m shocked It’s almost 6, and I’m excited! I also made a collage for Atari Bigby to show what I’m going to do for Abram and CJ. It came out great, and later he signs it. I show my dad some videos of Rosenhaus Sports, especially his ESPN commercial, and show him the massive client list. I also show him highlights of Abram, C.J., and Atari. I read on twitter that the event is from 9PM to 1PM, however on the main site, it says 8PM to 12PM, and only about an hour away, so we decide it’s at 8, so we eat some dinner, and head down there around 7PM. My dad and I decide to print out directions and we ask my mom if she is sure she doesn’t want to go, but she says she’s fine and wants to relax. No problem. I get reminded probably three or four times to not forget to bring socks, like I wasn’t going to where shoes to go bowling. Oh, so we’re walking out, and I’m wearing flip-flops… but I do have socks in my pocket. Anyways, we decide to leave, and I bring my notebook.

We get there around 7:50, and before we can even take a look, I notice right away, Drew and Jason Rosenhaus outside getting something out of their car. I don’t know what it is. And, they’re long gone, when my dad and I decide to get out of the car. I tell him that was Drew Rosenhaus, he asks, how can I tell, I said the hair and collared shirt, my dad, agreed and laughed. So, we’re on our way to the bowling alley, and we walk up the desk in front, and ask for our shoes, then head over to the Abram Elam event that’s on our right. Few people were there, Rosenhaus Sports was represented and people who set up the event were there, but that’s it. I look at my phone, 8:05 PM, guess we got here too early. After around fifteen minutes, my dad and I go introduce ourselves to Drew, he’s cool. I get a picture with him, and my dad is too excited for bowling. He goes and puts his shoes on, while I walk around to just to observe the alley, and pretty much, I just want to kill some time.

Around 8:30, I see my competitor walk in, he’s weighing in at 305 pounds, and I’m just a mere 203. He’s 6’3″ and I’m 5’11”. He’s a professional football player going on his sixth year in the NFL, I’m just finished my first year ever playing football. He’s a defensive linemen, I’m an offensive linemen. He is so not ready for me! I go up to him, give him a firm handshake, “Good luck. It’s about thirty minutes until showtime. Are you ready?” He nods, I can’t help myself and start laughing. I ask him if he’s going to be there on Saturday as well, he says, “yes”. So I propose this idea to him, that tonight when we take a picture we should do two fingers, sorta like peace sign and tomorrow we can do a three-finger thing, for the third day, and I’ll photoshop it and make it all nice, well anyways, it is awesome!

Anyways, more people start showing up, and I see Abram and Mr. Govan, and Atari, it’s very cool. Abram is still the class act. It’s amazing! I got another picture with him. I start walking around, before the bowling games actually start. C.J., Cassandra who is C.J.’s wife (we met her and talked to her last night as well), my dad, and I make up lane number 54. There were around twenty-five lanes we were to the right of the middle.

Abram introduced my dad and I to his brother, Matt, who is entering his freshman year at University of Florida (Gainesville), Gators, he’s a phenomenal athlete and really excited for his future. I told him, he better work his butt off, so he can be drafted. (His brother, Abram again, wasn’t drafted, but it shaped who he is), and then again, it was just a joke. I told him, I’m going to get a picture with you, so when you go No. 1 overall, I’ll be like, “I so have a picture with him before his first college football game ever!!” Yeah, I know you readers are oh so jealous of that bragging right! Anyways, it is truly going to happen.

I took some looks around, walked over to see what the News was really doing here, 760 AM ESPN, and found out they were recording Drew Rosenhaus talk about his client, Abram Elam. Wow…Talking is talking, I think, but Rosenhaus definitely knows how to answers to show why his clients are truly the best out there. Good for them. I decide to walk around and go talk to Atari. We kid around about his chains that he wears. I find it funny when he tells me something along the lines, that the chain he is wearing would break my neck if I wore it. It’s great to just see the personalities beyond the talent. Atari is a great guy. The trio, C.J., Atari, and Abram are all class acts.

So, as more people start arriving, the lights remain on, and the environment is not as noisy as it is does become. I walk over and talk to C.J., who introduces me to Wallace.  I say this, because that’s how he introduced me. My dad walks over to join me. I say, “Hey, my name is Max Strauss.” He shakes my hand and replies, “I’m Wallace,” I interrupt him, and it hits me, like just how he hits people on the field in special teams, “Wright”, it’s Wallace Wright, UNC grad, ex-Jet, current Carolina Panther, special teams ace under Westhoff, receiver improvement every year, boy, I miss him that he’s not in a Jets’ uniform. So, I decide to do some tampering… just kidding. We decided to talked some, wished him luck for his career in North Carolina, and realized, all these football players are great guys, just like Abe.

I walked around and saw David Clowney talking to some people. For those that don’t know, I met David when I was in the seventh grade, he came to my school, because my middle school P.E. teacher Coach G, was his high school football coach. When he came to my school, I made a collage for him that he signed, and then, later stolen in the day, by some kid. Anyways, I’ve been trying to get his attention ever since, because I knew he would be a Jet, and I wouldn’t have a collage signed from him, so I had an opportunity to re-make it. I mention the collage, and he goes, “I think I remember that, yeah, definitely do.” That’s a good sign. Anyways, so I talked to him and learned that he’ll be at the event tomorrow which means I will definitely try to make a collage tonight for him as well. So, three collages, Abram, C.J., and David. Check.

Anyways, I see someone sitting down at the table with C.J. and Wallace who I did not notice before, he was eating… I introduce myself, and he says I’m Drew Coleman. After talking for a little bit, I learn that his Facebook account of him is fake and any mean things the account has said wasn’t him… How’d he know his account was mean to me? I’m just kidding, the account never responded. Makes sense. Drew was a cool guy.

So, we finally got the lane set up. I went to go get a bowling ball, which was pointless, because I ended up switching the ball I use every time I got up there… But, C.J. was not prepared. First bowl from C.J. Six. I think to myself, no worries, a six, that’s doable, I hope… He misses the pins the second time. After Cassandra and my dad bowl, I’m up, I bowl a two, and then I learn, it’s just bowling… So I get a four and the game is tied. I later learned that would be the closest I would ever get to C.J. that night. He was bowling strikes now, while I had a weird combination of gutter ball then strike, but since it’s the second bowl, it would be a spare. I’m down by around thirty, and everyone in my lane is beating me, and we’re only halfway done. Uh oh, C.J. definitely went bowling last night, or hired some kids to put magnets in his pins for him. Especially after that last bowl, he just curved it, yeah… wow. He told me, look, “It’s not how you start, It’s how you finish.” I took that into consideration, and bowled my first and only strike of the night. First game was over, and I lost to C.J. of all people, 141 to 39, which might be my best game I’ve ever had… My dad kept smiling throughout the whole event.

So, after the first game, the lights went off. I was thinking my dad would want to go soon, but it was only around 10PM. During the second game, my dad was up to bowl, and I was talking to C.J., and he told me I have a really cool “Pops”, so basically now all my Facebook photos with my dad, he is tagged as “Pops”. I told C.J., “Yeah, he’s great.” He nodded. After my dad was done with his bowl, he walked over to us, and C.J. asked, “So, how’d you do Pops?” I smiled and tried not to laugh. So, anyways, you could kind of see how the second game, and yet CJ bowled higher, around 170 and around five strikes, while I improved my score to the 84, see, If I keep doubling my score… I’d beat him rather than his lousy 25% increase!!

In between my bowls, I walked around met some people, talked to others, got myself a glass of iced tea, still no appetite to eat with all these players here. I walked over to the other side of the alley, and saw someone that looked familiar, so I asked him who he is, he said, “Jack Williams”. I had a feeling he was G5Jack on twitter, a player I’ve tried to interview for all those Lions fans out there. Where are you? I’m just kidding around…. But, yeah, he said G5 on twitter, so I was like, darn, I was about to say that. He’s a great guy, pretty cool.

I walk back to my bowling lane. I find my name kicked off the competition list in our lane. It’s humbling. But, I deserve it after leaving to go talk to Jack. Anyways, I bowled two games, it was fun. I go up to C.J. and he now ignores me, and says something like, “You left us, how could you?” I say, “Sorry man, I had to,” he abruptly turns around to talk to Wallace, and I go, “What is this, common man…”.  He says he’s just kidding, get another pound in, no explosion this time, but found it worth mentioning because it was funny.

So, my dad says, it’s going to be time to go soon, it’s eleven o’clock, we’ve been here three hours, and it’s an hour drive back home. No worries, I tell my dad let me get my thank you. So, I do, then I finally get my last picture of the night with David Clowney, Wallace Wright, C.J. Mosley, and Abram Elam. It’s below. We’re on the way home, and I thank my dad for taking me to the next two events, and I appreciate that he took me to both, now one day left, of this amazing and truly UNFORGETTABLE weekend.

I’m home and I realize it’s midnight, I have to work on the collages for CJ, David, and Abram. I’m excited. I work on them, I’m up until 2:00 working on them and I decide to get some sleep, tomorrow’s event is from 10AM – 4PM, but we only plan on staying for four hours. We’re hoping to be there from 11AM – 3PM , but who knows what will happen, and who else will be there.

DAY THREE

So, I wake up around 8AM, but check my phone and then decide for some reason, I’m going to sleep for another hour or so. My dad wakes me up, it’s nice. It’s raining and thundering outside, I really don’t know what to think of it, I’m just kind of tired from the best two days ever, and now another great day. So, I hop in the shower… come out fifteen minutes later, and realize it’s around 10:15, time to get ready and put sunblock on. Before I put sunblock on, I ask my dad if we can print out the collages I made of the players. So, we start to print the collages I made for the players, and the power goes out. What…Really. Why, oh why. So, my dad and I are relaxing, a little bit, seeing what happens. Then, we both talk and we realize that we probably won’t have enough ink to print them out. So, I start to wonder if it’s raining over there, and then the power goes back, however the internet is still out. Not good. I emailed them to my dad’s computer because, well, I can’t print from my computer. Hm…What to do.

Twenty minutes go by, the internet pops up, we quickly save the pictures to the hard drive of the computer, however, the power shuts down… again, for around fifteen minutes. At least we saved them, so we don’t need internet to print out. So, we are waiting out home, both changed, ready to leave, just preferring to get these collages I stayed up to work on. It’s around 11 now, and the internet and power finally comes back on. My dad prints out his directions, and then, we print out the three collages, Abram Elam, David Clowney, and C.J. Mosley will like theirs and the printer says out of ink, it really is. I can’t wait for them to sign them. I’m excited to see their reactions.

Anyways, it’s around 11:20, we haven’t left yet, we’re about to. I’m excited, my dad is happy to spend time with me. I’m excited to see the NFL players, talk to them some more, but I do realize today is the day where all the kids want to talk to the players and get advice from them, which is great, and it really helps me understand what this event is all about. It’s interesting as I start to think about age, on Thursday, I had to act very mature because it was the sponsor’s event. On Friday, I had to act mature, but I can loosen up and get into competition mode with C.J., and today, I could do what all kids want to do, just hang out in the park with the NFL players.

We get there around 11:45 am, it’s great, the park looks great while we’re driving up, the cars on the way to the tent was great. We walk down, say, hi and thanks to the police officers who serve us and were help keeping the environment safe for everyone involved at the event. We look around, we register once again, just like the other events, but this time, we get a gift. Two raffle tickets and three shirts, we were able to get one for my mom. I switch shirts, as my dad takes his, my mom’s, and my other shirt to the car. I wait for my dad and I start talking to people there. It’s great to see the support given to his charity. To be honest, I never really could get a good estimate of how many people showed up, but I would say maybe two-three hundred, but then again, I could be way off.

So, my dad returns, we walk around, on the way to fun houses that are set up for the younger kids, we see Abram and his brother. We thank him again for the past two days, and also for today. If he’s reading this, here’s another Thank you! I show him the collage I worked on, and he tells me to email him a copy, I’ll be doing that. I’ll twitpic it as well, it is very cool. Collage number one, signed. Anyways, back to seeing what’s here, there are two news channels here, and trying to obtain stories, the kids have booths set up to attend other events, such as Eddie Shannon’s basketball camp or pick up a flyer for David Clowney’s camp. We find out that Matt is there again, and players should be arriving later in the day. They have music playing, and we walk around. I see David Clowney, collage number 2, the process is in progress. Complete. Collages one and two both complete. My dad grabs something to eat, and I grab a bottle of water. I’m not that hungry, haven’t been lately… These NFL players make me lose my appetite. It’s my new weight loss program, meet NFL players. Sounds like a great plan.

We see the K9 unit, and here an announcement that there’s going to be a show. My dad sits down underneath a tree, by the field where the show is going to be. I walk around again, and this time, pay more attention to the sponsors, I kid around with some people I meet. So, I check my phone, I’m sending direct messages with Hikeem Banks, cool guy, he’s showing up for the event, so, it’ll be interesting to meet him. He’s no professional football player, but he seems nice. We end up meeting later before I leave with my dad. I talk to some players some more, but literally, I just stand and observe this wonderful environment and all the positive influences for the kids. It’s looking to be a very successful day.

I hear the MC/DJ of the event announces the K9 Unit will be performing soon. My dad and I are both excited for this, we’ve never seen a show like this, but we know about them, and have heard people rave about them. So, we walk over, and listen to the music blasting. We see a guy go to the MC, ask for his microphone, and he officially becomes known to me as the “Epic Announcer”. He introduces the squad and describes what the K9 unit is doing. It’s actually very interesting to see what the dogs do, and how well the dogs are trained. Dogs are phenomenal at chasing down people…why, because four legs are better than two. Plus, their ability to smell and differentiate between the smells to find the source. It’s incredible. At the end, we see Airbud, the fastest dog in the county, run down a man who’s running fifty yards, and the dog runs him down when he starts at one hundred. Wow. So, after the show, I get a picture with the unit, and right before my dad takes the picture, he said, ‘This is the only time I want to see you with these guys, when they’re smiling,’ and now we all laugh, the picture was messed up… Anyways, we do get a great photo though. Thanks Dad.

After this, the Pangea Kidz before. I know what you are about to say, I have heard you mention that name before, but where! Well, if you want to scroll up to the music on the left side and click the play button, you can listen to their music, I suggest you do after finishing the read, unless you want to re-read this all, and lose your spot. Here, I’ll make a marker for you. There, that should hopefully work. Alright, welcome back! So, as you can see, I really enjoyed their music, and what they stood for, spreading peace and love. If you click the Pangea Kidz hand, it’ll take you to their Facebook page, become a fan! They are great. I really liked them. They’re really cool people as I got pics with them and their groupies. They’ll be big one day, and hopefully, they’ll still let me play their music on my site. Thanks again Pangea Kidz! My favorite song is, “I’m Bored”, but check them out! They performed their songs live with a bass player and DJ, it was very very cool! It was great to see all the kids enjoy their music as well. To be honest, what they promote, is phenomenal. Search them on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and start listening and let’s make this a Pangea Kidz Nation!

So, times moving on, we’re hanging outside and relaxing, and I finally start to see some more football players show up. I see C.J. Mosley, Wallace Wright, and Atari Bigby again. They’re great. I’m excited to see them. We finally get the third picture in for the collage. I show him the collage I made C.J., he loves it. Now, I have to tell Wallace that our printer ran out of ink… That went well, I guess. No, he was cool with it. They all are were just as cool as they were the night before. We get pictures. It’s awesome to be with these players. It’s really amazing. I see the kids walk up to them and smile, and people want to take photos with them, so I become their new designated photographer. All good, for a little while.

As I start to look around, I notice Usama Young, he showed up! I heard a couple nights before that the players finally received their rings. I go up to him, “Are you Usama Young?”, he smiles. It’s awesome, I ask him about his ring, he shows me, he’s wearing it, (Bottom-Left of Day 3 Banner), Oh my!! It’s awesome, we try to get a good picture but it’s too shiny and gold and full of diamonds, that it doesn’t come out that great. I do get a picture with him of me holding my hand up in a fist, and he holds his wearing his wring, it’s awesome! We talk a little bit, I told him, I’ve talked to him on twitter before, and he sort of remembers who I am. I told him some things that he replied back to me, and he said something like, “Oh, yeah…now I know”. It was a great feeling to meet him. He was all smiles, well, with that SuperBowl ring, I mean, how can you not smile? He’s a cool guy. I go back to hang out with the crew, CJ/Atari/Wallace. They’re still great. We talk about charities, and they tell me, they’re going to be developing them as soon as they get starting jobs. It’s great to see these players really out, especially helping teammates, that is pure class.

So, Abram invites all the NFL players to stage, and does some final raffle draws. How come whenever you are in a raffle, you’re always that close to winning, but you don’t win. Example: Number is 181702 and you have 181602, but somehow you’re convinced you were really close to winning!!! And, you freak out. But then you realize, Oh, Better luck next time.

Anyways, the Mayor of Riveria Beach honors and thanks Abe for coming back to his town to support the community of Riveria Beach. He mentions how Abram is a role model and the city wants to give back to Abe and his family. He talks to everyone and I learn that it really does not matter where you come from, but it’s all about what you do. He then, hands the microphone over to the congressman’s representative who talks to us for a brief bit, thanking Abe and he was excited. After the mayor, gets the microphone back, he introduces Cedrick Thomas, a big guy, almost like the mayor’s bodyguard. He’s not though, he’s another spokesman. He is holding a framed certificate that officially declares, “June 19 is ‘Abram Elam Day’ in the city of Riveria Beach, Florida.” Abram is so thankful, it’s apparent. Then they mayor goes on a little more, and says, we think it would be an honor to give you the key to the city. That basically made Abram try to hide his tears, and prepare to smile. It was heartwarming, and just seeing this all for Abram, after what’s he is doing for the community is great. I’m smiling and everyone is clapping and excited for Abe.

Abe thanks us once again, but we all thank him back. He introduces the players and he has a story to go along with the players when he introduces them one by one. He talks about the Kent State brother, Jack Williams, how he tried out for the Dolphins with Atari Bigby,  talks about his former teammate, Drew Coleman, the Special Teams ace, Wallace Wright, overcoming an injury in C.J. Mosley. Abe then introduces the Saints cornerback, Usama Young, who was a college teammate of Abe’s as well. Usama talks about accomplishing what every NFL player wants to do, ‘Get that Super Bowl Ring’. He then, promotes his camp, but he also goes onto explain the adversity that you have to face to excel in life. Abe then introduces former teammate and “best dancer” on the New York Jets, David Clowney. He thanks Abe, promotes his camp that is occurring next week. He talks about how Abe and him had a lot of fun on the Jets, but he teaches the kids that you have to bring back to Palm Beach County. The parents smile, and the kids will learn about what this really means one day. Abe then introduces the man who developed Abe’s work ethic, Eddie Shannon. Eddie talks to us about his basketball camp coming up next week and a little about his experience. Abram thanks us for the successful event and also tells us, he loves us. All the kids are smiling, and then he mentions autographs and players will be over on the field to the right of us.

My dad says it’s time to go. I agree… unfortunately. I say bye to C.J, Atari, and Wallace. I thank Abe for the great weekend, although he is swarmed by kids. He shakes my hand and thanks me for joining. I do get to meet one of my twitter followers, Hikeem Banks, who I was tweeting throughout, it was for a brief minute, but I gave him the limited edition business cards. Anyways, my dad and I leave. We walk to the car.

I take a deep breath, and realize that this weekend is over…

I’d like to end this, by thanking Abram Elam and T.E.A.M. Elam as many times as I can. This event was a true phenomenal experience. It was a treat and something I’ll look back onto and thank you for motivating me to never forget about where we grow up. I’ll leave you with one last note. The T.E.A.M. Elam Mission Statement : “The T.E.A.M. Elam Foundation will provide youth with an opportunity to experience positive influences in business, sports and entertainment; and at the same time respect and preserve the environment. Our goal is to show youth that through determination and perseverance their goals can be accomplished; and there is a second chance for greatness.”

There it is, the three-day blog and adventure, Thanks to everyone for reading this! I’ll get back to interviews shortly.


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