My wife thanks Jebus that National Signing Day is in the middle of the week. That way, she doesn’t have to hear me gush endlessly about 18-year-olds and their “potential” for an entire Saturday. Don’t get me wrong, Mrs. Bull Gator is a big college football fan, but as with many a fan, the games are where it’s at (cue hit song by Beck that makes you scratch your head as to why it was so popular in the first place). For the rest of us, the diehards, it’s of the utmost importance.
With Signing Day coming on a Wednesday, you have to be prepared. Odds are you are grinding away at your job that day. It’s not as simple as waking up on a Saturday morning, wiping the drool/whiskey off your chin, and stumbling to the television. Most of your information will be provided via the World Wide Web and you need to be ready for all the day can throw at you. Last minute switches, high school kids showing off their acting skills when pretending they aren’t sure which hat to pick up, grown men getting giddy over the latest blue chip recruit. This isn’t a day to mess around people! It’s National Signing Day. Pay it the respect it deserves.
By now, you’re a little bit nervous. Maybe even scared. But it’s alright. Everything will be okay. I’m here for you. To console you during the rough times and toast with you during the good ones. And most importantly, I’m here to help you prepare. So listen up and welcome the day that’s coming. Don’t fear it.
1. Work productivity be damned. Don’t kid yourself. Don’t try to be the hero. Don’t put more on your plate than you can handle. It’s just you and Signing Day. Realize that now and you’ve already won the battle. Treat it like a lady. It needs special attention. Singular attention. As much as you fantasize about the you/work/Signing Day threesome, it just isn’t gonna happen. Inevitably you’ll neglect one and screw the whole thing up. If it’s you, you’ll end up nothing more than a useless heap of sobbing human curled up on the floor under your desk sucking your thumb and wondering where it all went wrong and where the hell your pants went. If it’s work, mistakes will be made. Don’t sacrifice your station in your organization because you took on too much. When rushed, mistakes happen (let’s hope that’s the last time I offer up career advice). And if it’s Signing Day, well, don’t leave out Signing Day. If that’s your choice then you’re clearly in the wrong place. Go back to reading The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and get off this site immediately. So pick the obvious two. You and the recruits. Work can wait until Thursday. You’ve surely perfected ways to make it seem like you were working already. Now’s the time to put them into action.
2. Make sure someone keeps the coffee pot full. And throws out that decaf crap while they’re at it. (Speaking of, what in the world is the point in decaf coffee? Does coffee really taste that good to some people that they drink it free of its ability to keep me from falling asleep and putting myself into a coma as my head smashes against the particle board that makes us my desk? The answer is no, it doesn’t.) Coffee isn’t a necessity here. Whatever does it for you will work just fine. Coffee, a cola or two, whatever flavor of Mountain Dew is Taco Bell’s drink of the month, Pixy Stix powder, enough pills to break the homerun record. Just make sure you’re awake. This isn’t a day in which to take your early morning, mid morning, before lunch, after lunch, mid afternoon, or late afternoon nap. Stay alert and don’t worry about the shaking. It’ll pass.
3. Sit in style. Signing Day is not a day to skimp on your seating of choice. Make sure you have ample butt support as you’ll be glued to your computer and the refresh button for many an hour. Choose your throne wisely. Whether it be luxury in leather or recliner heaven, make it comfortable. You won’t get up, and if you do, it’ll only be for but a moment to recharge. This one could be the most important of the bunch. That last thing you need to be doing is thinking “ugh, I better get up and move around a bit, I’m stiff.” NO!!! You aren’t stiff! Your mind won’t let you be stiff! And if you are stiff, you’re weak! Man up and pick your seat out the day before. Steal it from a coworker. Order it from facilities now. Do what you need to do. Your ass will thank you later.
4. Know the names. Every year without fail I get an email or instant message or phone call that goes something like this: “What do you think about this Harvin kid? I hadn’t heard of him until today, but are you sure he will fit into the Gators’ offense? He can’t really be that good can he?” Yes he can be that good. In fact, he’ll be better. Much better. But you’d already know that if you woke up and did your homework. This isn’t time to jump on the recruiting bandwagon. It’s time to drive the damn thing. You need to know who your team already has and who they’re expected to pick up. Surprises will happen and you can’t be blamed for that, but you can be blamed for not knowing Tebow from Jarboe. Do yourself a favor and spend some time on the recruiting sites over the next day. If you don’t know what they are then you’re already a lost cause. If you do, well, get to researching. Don’t be that fan in the fall who says “who’s the new guy? #5? He’s pretty good.” You’re damn right he’s pretty darn good. He was the MVP of the Army All-American Game and can bench press your entire family while catching touchdown passes one handed.
5. Relax. While National Signing Day is basically Christmas in February for college football fans, the end result isn’t something to get too worked up about. And by that I mean in terms of your reaction toward specific prospects. Think a recruit made the wrong decision? Okay, but let him figure it out on his own (I’m looking at you Nu’Keese). In the end, these are kids making a choice on where they want to play ball. It may not make sense. You may scratch your head as to why a recruit will choose a team that typically goes 8-4 over one that year after year competes for conference titles, but it’s his choice. Four years ago, Gators fans wanted a speedy back by the name of Spiller. He didn’t come to Gainesville and ended up a star all the same. Sure he would’ve been a nice addition, but two National Championships and three 13-1 seasons later, who cares? He made his choice and it may have been the right one for him. Just like you can’t choose your neighbors (damn lady better stay off my lawn!), you can’t pick the school these kids end up at. Sometimes your team may not end up with your man-crush (it happens more often than not). It’s okay. You’ll survive.
By now, you should be prepared. If not, you have all day Tuesday. National Signing Day is just around the corner. Don’t let it pass you by.