May 25th, 2016

Kid Reporter John: My Experience at the NFL Draft!
When you tell someone you were awarded tickets by FUTP 60 to attend the 2016 NFL Draft in Chicago, they think "that’s really cool!" When you tell them you were able to go into the press conference for the first round NFL Draft pick interviews, they think, "Wow! That’s unbelievable!"Then, when you tell them you were able to ask the first round overall NFL Draft pick, Jared Goff, the last question of his interview, who knows what they’ll think of that!

It is still truly hard to believe that all this happened on Thursday, April 28. It all started off on the 4 o’clock train in to Chicago with my father. We didn’t really know what to expect and my dad jokingly asked, "So what are you gonna ask the first round NFL Draft picks?" I impulsively shook the question away with a slight chuckle and we moved on with our train ride. Once we arrived, it was 15 minutes of chaotic walking with so many people there for the NFL Draft. We were given passes which gave us the power to go through the back way to get in without a line. We felt famous! My dad and I met up with the upcoming 2017 State Ambassador Ladainian and his Program Advisor Rita and took our seats on the first level of the Chicago Amphitheater.

After the first NFL Draft pick, Ladainian and I were brought 'behind the scenes' to the press room which consisted of at least 50 rolling cameras and reporters who all had at least 1 electronic device out researching something important. I could feel the tension in the room with the anticipation of the interviews to begin. It also didn’t help much to talk with the reporter next to me who said he worked for one of the biggest reporting companies in the world and that he had talked with President Obama in a past interview, which just showed me these reporters were the best of the best. We were encouraged to ask the players questions, but I needed all the encouragement I could get because how was my question worthy enough to be asked when these reporters had spent hours researching this NFL Draft prospects? 

After thirty minutes the interviews began. First round overall NFL Draft-pick, quarterback Jared Goff, came out and starts getting blasted with question after question. I had one myself, but couldn’t find the right time to ask it as questions flew by me from left and right directed towards Goff. After about 5 minutes, time was coming to an end and the director shouted, “a few more questions”.

I realized this opportunity wasn’t going to come again anytime soon so I gathered my courage up and blurted out, “Mr. Goff, what do you have to say to all the kids who want to be in your position right now?” With a surprised look, Jared Goff answered, “Man, work as hard as you can, leave no stone unturned, and hope for the best.” From then on, Ladainian and I gained our confidence, alternating questions with each new NFL Draft pick. I ended up asking number 5 pick Jalen Ramsey (who will play with the Jacksonville Jaguars this fall) how he will celebrate, to which he responded that he is still taking it all in and that he will first finish watching the NFL Draft to see where some of his friends end up going to play and then spend time with the family. 

My last question was to NFL Draft pick number 11 and soon-to-be Tampa Bay Buccaneer, Vernon Hargreaves III, where I again asked what advice he had to kids who want to be in his position. His advice was that he was in those kids’ same position and that there is nothing special about him, but that it is all about hard work.

My once-in-a-lifetime experience at the 2016 NFL Draft showed me these NFL players are normal guys who put in their all to reach their dreams and anyone is capable of reaching their goals through hard work, which is exemplified through these players. Thanks you so much to everyone at FUTP 60 that made this experience come true and it is something I will commonly reflect back on and never forget!

-Kid Reporter John