2 Smelly Cleats & A Life Long Memory

Posted: August 14, 2012 in family, sports

Ever heard of the cinnamon challenge? Well that’s how this all began and some good old fashioned youth football…

I was doing my usual twitter patrol checking out some athletes I follow when I read a tweet by Brandon Deaderick. His tweet was anyone who sends him their cinnamon challenge video he would pay that person himself. Not knowing what the cinnamon challenge was and loving money I quickly did a search on YouTube.

WOW!!!!! Is all I could say after watching a couple videos.

I responded to Brandon’s tweet with how much you willing to pay?

He responded an autograph football sound good?

I’m thinking an autographed football sound good??? Well of course I’d eat some cinnamon for an autographed ball by a young up & coming defensive lineman of the New England Patriots.

So as the talk around my home began to be primarily about this cinnamon challenge my then 8yr old son starts to ask if he could be the one to do this challenge.

I thought about it long and hard and all I could imagine is this video of my son going viral and child services catches wind of it and my family comes under scrutiny, I was very hesitant. We had several discussions within our home. After going back & forth with my son he said he had already preformed this cinnamon challenge with some friends at camp.

I wasn’t sure how Brandon would feel about this lil guy doing the video, would he be entertained? Would he still give the autographed ball? Along with the worry for my sons well being.

We decided to make a short video of Zach asking if he could do the challenge and Brandon responded to our video and said Zach doing it would be fine.

We prepped the kitchen cleared memory on my iPhone to video this event and it was action time.

Zach took a table spoon of pure ground cinnamon and dumped it into his mouth, not even a second later a big cough followed by a big brown cloud. Myself, my finance and Zach’s younger brother were all in stitches over the reaction. Zach eventually got the entire spoonful in and it was both hilarious and concerning watching him dance around yelling coughing and burning up.

After taking care of Zach & cleaning up the mess we sent Zach’s challenge video to YouTube then tweeted a link to Brandon.

He responded almost immediately saying Zach’s video of the challenge was worthy of an autographed football. In Brandon’s response he also asked for our home address so he could send Zach the ball.

Zach being a youth football player was in shock, almost to the point of disbelief that he was going to be the proud owner of an autographed ball by a New England Patriots player. Getting involved made Zach curious about who Brandon Deaderick was so I showed him some pics & he read his bio, suddenly Zach is even more excited, yelling dad DAD come here look look…. Zach & Brandon both wore #71

Zach was so excited and grateful that he asked me, dad can I make a video thanking Deaderick for picking me? Sure let’s do it buddy was my response, feeling all the more proud that my son thought enough to want to thank Brandon.

To our surprise Brandon’s response to Zach’s thank you video was it’s going to be awhile before the ball arrives due to the fact it was the off season and players weren’t around. WHAT!!! The team isn’t around??? That meant he planned on having more then his signature on the ball. He also said that in the mean time he’d get Zach something.

Here’s where being a patient parent comes in. Daily sometimes hourly Zach asks if the mail has come, dad can I check the mail? Dad did Brandon tweet you? Zach now has a new found friendship with our regular mailman. Everyone Zach meets for the foreseeable future learns of Zach doing the challenge and also gets his story of being long time pals of Brandon Deaderick.

Maybe 2 weeks pass and I find out Brandon is doing an autograph signing. Having met several Patriots and other Boston area athletes as a kid plus the cinnamon challenge connection I thought would better time to create a great memory for Zach & I.

I had kept it a secret as long as possible from Zach that we had plans to actually meet his new best friend that just happens to be a New England Patriot. I just couldn’t handle the daily mail question followed by are we meeting Brandon tomorrow?

I did how ever notify Brandon via twitter, actually I think I warned him about Zach being in attendance at the autograph show. To an 8 yr old a couple weeks might as well be years, Zach was thinking he would never see the autographed ball.

We got to the Deaderick signing about an hour early figuring we’d try and be first to meet him. While waiting in line Zach hears a store employee mention Brandon will be entering through the back door of the store, behind the table where the autographs will be signed and pics taken. He now informs me I’m going to wait for Brandon at the back door and I’m gonna ask him where my ball is. He’s locked and loaded on that back door, arms folded with a wide tough guy type stance. I’m waiting in line by the front door, maybe the eighth person in line.

Brandon ends up entering the front door where I’m in line, not through the back. Thank god for him he missed the lecture Zach had in store for him. While being in awe of the size of Deaderick I notice him carrying a pair of used cleats. Ever have one of those gut wrenching feelings? I say to myself he’s giving those to Zach. Then I start to doubt my feeling, I also know how excited Zach is I’m getting concerned about how Brandon is gonna receive Zach. Is Zach really gonna give this guy a hard time about not getting a ball yet? It’s only been a few weeks since he did the challenge.

Brandon makes his way to the table, Zach is standing behind the table still arms folded mean mugging this back door with his tough guy stance. The line starts moving and I’m getting concerned Zach is gonna miss meeting his new best friend. Suddenly I feel a nudge and see Zach looking at me like I just stole his lunch money….. Why didn’t you tell me Brandon was here dad? I didn’t want to get out of line to grab him plus Brandon was signing autographs almost bumping elbows with Zach, but being so focused on that back door he had no idea what was happening right behind him.

It’s now our turn to meet Brandon. Zach has no idea he walked in carrying the cleats, they are tucked under the table out if sight. NEXT!!! I nudge Zach to go ahead I stayed back to click pics.

Brandon jumps up out of his chair shakes Zach’s hand and starts small talk with him. I’m taking pics enjoying the glory my son is enjoying. Then he reached under the table and pulled out the kicks. Zach lights up like a Christmas tree as do I. Mind you it was $15 per auto, they provided really nice 8X10 that Deaderick personally signed while you met him and got a quick pic. Usually under 60 seconds at the table. Zach gets his shirt signed, the pic, the cleats, there making small talk, the store hosting the signing is taking pics of this lucky fan who just got a pair of game used autographed cleats. The long line behind me starts getting a lil impatient, I hear somebody moaning c’mon get the kid outta there. It truly seemed Brandon was having as much fun as Zach was. I wanted an autograph & my pic with him to, shoot I’m a die hard Pats fan, so these unhappy folks are going to have to wait a wee bit longer.

This all took place inside Rosters in the Providence Place Mall. Zach wanted to walk the mall plus we were hungry so I figured we’d check out the food court. While riding the escalator I hear babble coming from Zach behind me as I turn around there’s a kid about 7 foot 6 listening to Zach talk in fast forward holding his Rosters bag wide open showing his new treasure from his old friend Brandon Deaderick. Everyone we passed at the mall was shown the cleats, along with a high speed story of how this all started, cinnamon challenge to present moment. For a short while Zach was actually walking the mall wearing Deaderick’s shoes, that was a sight. Zach is a lean shredded lil guy, the cleats were almost the same length of his legs. Nobody missed the kid stumbling around in huge clown looking shoes.

On our way out we had to walk back by the store. The signing had about a half hour left and Zach wanted to stop back by. I’m thinking god no, please spare this guy Zach chewing his ear off for the next half hour. Thinking he’d be to shy or timid to go in alone I tell him no I don’t feel like it let’s just go, he says can I go alone. I tell him we will check it out, if there’s a bunch of people no. To my surprise the guy taking the pics and Brandon are sitting there talking. Dad DAD there’s nobody in there c’mon let’s go… Nope you can go alone if you’d like I’ll wait here in the walkway outside the store. I figure I’ll have to put him in a straight jacket to get him out of there, but in just a few short moments he comes running out all smiles, ear to ear and tells me Brandon said he’s still gonna send me the autographed ball. WHAT!!!! YOU ASKED HIM THAT AFTER HE BROUGHT YOU THOSE SHOES??? I was heated to say the least. He tells me he didn’t exactly ask, but said are these cleats instead of the ball? I guess Brandon said he was still getting the ball.

Zach was on this natural high for weeks after our great day. He told everyone the story, kids at school, the lil old lady squeezing heads of lettuce in the produce area of the super market, I mean everyone. He still shares the story but now he’s learned not everyone likes stories about football so whenever he sees somebody sporting any Patriots gear he shares his story about him and his great old buddy Brandon Deaderick.

I shared this story for multiple reasons, but I think mainly because my sons football season is currently at risk of being canceled, no I’m sorry his 2012 season has been canceled along with about 200 other kids season.

See without my son playing for the Chelsea Pride Youth Football Titans this story, this day maybe never happens.

Would he have had the interest in meeting a football player if he wasn’t playing himself? I never played hockey could careless about meeting a professional hockey player. He wouldn’t have worn jersey number 71 last year, the same number worn by Brandon Deaderick.

The other reason I shared this is to show that many athletes are much more then what we see on television, in the media and who we perceive them to be. I really didn’t expect much more then a quick pic and autograph, never imagined Deaderick would create such a great moment in my son’s life and mine. I never imagined he would be so personal with Zach, shoot I wasn’t sure he’d know who he was.

But again this ever lasting memory & story, in my eyes never happens without Chelsea Youth Football & Cheer. Let’s keep creating those moments that make the hair on the back of your neck stand up, you know those goose bumps of joy & happiness. Please help & support Chelsea Pride Youth Football & Cheer. If you’d like to find out more on how you could get involved with saving the season along with saving many young men & women from hanging on the block you can contact me or check out Chelsea Pride on Facebook. I can be contacted through responses here or my twitter @bobbyblanco1


Please sign the petition to save Chelsea Pride


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