EDITOR’S NOTE: Once again, I’ll just shut up and let Nik’s mom, Shannon, have the floor with her own writing and words.
You know the old saying, ‘If I had a dollar for every time someone told me…’? Well I can honestly say that thought has gone through my head every time someone told me over the years that the chances were ‘one in a million’ for my son Nik Needham to make it to the NFL.
I’d usually say, “Yeah, I know, but it’s his dream so I’m here to support it.” I’m his Mom, for gosh sakes, and who am I to discount anyone’s dreams, whether they are my son’s or not? In fact, I’ve been all in on his dream since the day he shared it with me when he was a little boy.
But if you really want to know how I’ve always felt about Nik and his dream of making it to the NFL, all you have to do is check out my Facebook page, or better yet, check out my other article. You’ll quickly discover that I really have been one of Nik’s biggest cheerleaders since day one! He’s not quite there yet, but he’s sure getting close to the dream he’s worked so hard for and stayed focused on despite the adversity, hardships and non-believers.
So here we are, 12 days away from the 2019 NFL Draft, and his dream may finally become a reality. Nothing’s guaranteed of course, but if you asked me again today, I’d still tell you he’s got a great shot at it!
I know this because Nik, despite everything he’s overcome, continues to focus on his dream and put in the work and sacrifice necessary to make it happen.
As for me, I’ve tried to stay calm despite the extreme excitement I’ve felt for him throughout this whole process! I guess you could say it’s also been a roller coaster of emotions because there have been many times when things appeared like they weren’t happening the way I thought they should.
No all-star game invites.
No combine invite.
Of course, the social media chatter about all the ‘Big School’ prospects made me angry that Nik was once again overlooked and fighting that familiar uphill battle of opportunity.
Yes, I was angry, but only for a moment as I had forgotten Nik’s capabilities. I also saw how his work ethic and laser focus on his goals never wavered, so why should mine? ‘All in’ means ALL IN!
Fortunately, Nik did receive an invite to the NFL Regional Combine in Kansas City where about 30 prospects who did not receive invites to the National Combine were evaluated by all 32 NFL team scouts. It felt great to know his ‘under the radar’ status was beginning to change.
I read a couple of cool articles that reported he did very well so that was exciting! My Dad and I also had the opportunity to fly out for his Pro Day at UTEP and we had a blast. Nik performed well and the scouts took notice.
He’s received a few invites to visit teams and is also participating in one team’s Pro Day this week. His name and film have been popping up more often on social media and I’ve even seen him included in a few ‘mock drafts’.
So how do I feel about all of this now? Well, I’m so happy he is finally getting the recognition he deserves! There have also been moments when I just wanted to scream! For instance, when I read an inaccurate story about him on social media or when others imply that since I’m ‘just his Mom’, I may not know much about football or that I’m being biased with my celebration of his efforts and achievements.
I’ve gotten a lot better at blocking out that noise and staying clear of social media chatter about things I don’t believe in. It’s been a great exercise. I’ve also looked back on his quest and have been reminiscing about how it all started.
I think about everything we’ve been through and how he continues to amaze me with his commitment and work ethic. I think about how precious our time together has been, especially since he graduated college this past December and has been living at home while he does his pre-draft training. And despite the substantial increase in laundry and grocery shopping these last few months, I’ve absolutely loved having him home!
As far as my goals? Well, the one thing in my life I’ve tried my hardest to do is just to be a good, supportive Mom. I know I’m not perfect by any means, but Nik has set an awesome example of having a dream and staying the course. Being a Mom has been my biggest dream and I’m ALL IN!