The New Orleans Saints informed me of your 200th game as a Saint in the upcoming game vs. the Atlanta Falcons. I marvel at the fact that you're already in year 12. I'm thrilled that you still have a passion for the game and you're still playing at a high level. This has caused me to reflect on your career from the perspective as a dad and as a former player. From the former player perspective, I understand the hard work, dedication, availability, along with God's grace and good genetics, and how that contributes to a successful career. Arguably, Anita gave you the better athletic genes.
When I look back at your early years, your athleticism started to appear later in junior high. While all three of our children were athletic (and arguably pound-for-pound, your baby sister Steffanie is probably the best athlete in the house), you were always the most competitive. Praise God, it appears we channeled that in the right directions. Thankfully, you all wanted to play sports year-round, but Anita's temperance to ration sports in balance with other things probably averted burn out and kept all of you guys' desire to play even stronger. I can admit, I had to be "that dad" who forced you to play Pop Warner football in the eighth grade even after you told me you were going to be a basketball player. Gauging our rough-housing at home, your competitiveness and anticipated size, I knew football would suit you the best. The gamble paid off when you got the "bug" for football by mid-year of that season. I wanted you to have the opportunity to enjoy the game of football like I enjoyed it. By the way, that also got me out of doghouse with Anita for pushing you to play football.
Your high school and college careers success exceeded mine and my expectations for you. Not so much that I didn't think you would have that level of success, but more so that I understand the challenges that can inhibit that success, e.g. injuries, mental toughness, your social butterfly demeanor, etc. As a former player, I was able to provide you with good info to mitigate a lot of those challenges. As a dad, I enjoyed coaching you (and your big brother Geoffrey) in high school and then seeing your evolution. That growth came with a lot of work and some pain. But through it all, you were developing character traits including a solid work ethic, compassion for others, and a drive to succeed.
People often note that I must be proud of you and your accomplishments. Of course I am, but I'm even more thrilled at what God has done and is doing in your life. I remember being at the NFL Draft in New York City and we prayed as a family before going to the draft. As you may recall, the prayer wasn't "Lord let Cam get drafted in the top 10 picks." It was "Lord, please take Cam to the team/city where you would have him go and to do Your will." Admittedly I was perplexed when God answered by sending our very social 21-year-old to New Orleans! But as always, God is good and surrounded you with good folks to guide and invest in you. My former player experience helped get to the right agent in Doug Hendrickson to help manage the professional/business side of pro football. While it was certainly God to provide you with an awesome wife (whom you initially met in NOLA), I'd like to think the dad advice helped clarify the criteria that facilitated the marriage. While you've been considered for DPOY (Defensive Player of the Year), Nikki gets our vote for M&WOY (Mom & Wife of the Year…repeatedly).