Dec. 26, 2012
SHREVEPORT, La. – Throughout the next few days, senior tight end Jordan Thompson (Rockford, Ohio) of the Ohio Football Program will be giving Bobcat fans a detailed account of Ohio Football’s fourth straight bowl trip. To experience a bowl trip through the perspective of an Ohio student-athlete, read Jordan’s second entry below.
Day Two: Tuesday, December 25
Merry Christmas, Bobcat fans!
I woke up this morning and looked out our hotel room window to see what Christmas in the south would look like. Even though the ground is not covered in snow, nor are the streets brick, the Red River flows through Shreveport and that is enough to remind me of the Hocking River back home. Now I say home, a term that I’ve grown accustomed to using the last five years during my time as a Bobcat. Although I am not native to Athens, it has that hometown feel that has welcomed me with open arms all throughout my career. Even though we are not in Athens for Christmas, or in my little hometown of Rockford in northwest Ohio with family, I am with my Bobcat family here in Louisiana, and I couldn’t be happier.
There is something about being part of a team that brings people together, and our team is no different. Being Christmas Day, we were given the luxury of sleeping in this morning. As we gathered for brunch around 10:30, the equipment staff was assembled outside the eating area wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and giving each player several gifts. These gifts included a new hat embroidered with the Independence Bowl logo, a commemorative football with the bowl logo on it, and a stocking stuffed with fruit and candy canes from Ohio University Athletes in Action. Receiving these gifts this morning put a smile on everyone’s faces, and although it isn’t a traditional Christmas morning, it is nice that the support staff tried to make our day as Christmas-like as possible.
After brunch, we switched gears and got our minds set for practice. Afternoon thunderstorms rolled through the area, so we weren’t able to make our way down to the stadium for practice. Instead we stayed at the hotel, which is connected to the Shreveport Convention Center. Practice was held in the convention center expo area, which was plenty big enough for us to conduct a semi-modified practice. I felt like our guys were focused, and are really dialed into the game plan for Friday’s contest against Louisiana-Monroe.
At 3:30 a busload of players departed the hotel and headed across town to the LSU-Children’s Hospital. Visiting children in the hospital is something we’ve done the last few years, and is always an event our players look forward to. Not only is this an opportunity to reach out to the local area, but also it allows our guys a chance to meet people in the community, and hopefully put a smile on the faces of those who are battling an illness or injury over the holiday season. I had the opportunity to connect with one young man who was recovering from a knee operation. I was able to tell him about my knee injury, and how just two months ago I was in his position. Even though I am not back to 100%, I felt like his mother was relieved to see that after a severe knee operation things can get back to normal with time. After we left the hospital, it was neat to hear guys sharing similar stories about how they were able to connect with patients, and many of them felt that they were able to leave knowing they brightened someone’s day.
For dinner tonight we had a traditional Christmas meal with meat, potatoes, and all the trimmings. One thing about when we travel as a team, we never have to worry about meals being anything other than the best. After dinner, our players were given the evening off. Many guys found themselves in the player hospitality room for the evening, while others ventured out of the hotel to walk around. I was lucky enough to spend the evening with my parents as they flew into town earlier in the day. The highlight of my evening was video chatting with my nephews back in Ohio as they were so excited to show me their Christmas gifts. One of these gifts was a LaVon Brazil rookie card.
I hope Bobcat fans everywhere had a very Merry Christmas, and don’t forget to tune in Friday at 2 o’clock Eastern Time to cheer on the team one last time this season!