“Yeah baaaaaaby!!!” yelled my uncle, as my family raced through the door with “BRONCOS” printed on paper and taped to whatever hats and T-shirts they could find.
My father, sitting there in a state of shock, responded to every comment by screaming “WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!”
My grandmother was crying tears of joy. My grandfather hugged everyone in sight.
And as for me? My life had just changed forever, and I was trying to soak it all in.
This was my draft party.
I had won plenty of games in high school and college, but to that point, getting drafted into the NFL was my biggest victory yet.
And I was ready to celebrate.
In fact, I believe there should be more celebrating in life. You do not have to get drafted to a pro sports team to honor your achievements.
We all have our own moments. We all have our own victories. We all have our own reasons to celebrate.
Take a second to think about your last victory moment.
Maybe it was a degree that you earned. Or perhaps you paid off your student debt. Maybe it was a sales goal that you achieved.
Now take a second to think about how you would celebrate that moment. I mean, really celebrate.
Going back to my draft party, I celebrated with a potluck-style bash. There was food from my grandparents. I can still remember the ice cream and cake and, back then, there was even film in the cameras!
This, of course, was far different than the draft parties we held in college, where we scavenged over cheap pizza and drank Gatorades leftover from that day’s workout. We analyzed every pick, boasting our skills over the players selected and announcing things like “I would never go to (team)” or “I’d be the perfect fit for (team).”
Right now, more than 300 college football players are in the waning hours of their draft party plans. Who is coming? Who is not? Who is going to sit next to them, ya know, for the cameras? After they get the call, does the girlfriend get the first kiss, or does mom get an embrace before anyone else?
With that, I ask what will your party look like?
Where would you have it? Would it be invite-only or a huge free-for-all open to everyone you know? What music would you play? What food would you serve?
“Lots of pizza,” my wife says emphatically, as if she has been waiting to answer this question her whole life.
Perhaps the most important question is: Will you even have a next party?
I am here to tell you that you should!
You deserve it. You should stop for a moment, think about your accomplishments and feel good about them. We spend so much time dwelling on our shortcomings and stressing over our little losses.
Please, please do not forget about those wins.
After four years of practices, classes, games, workouts, early mornings, late nights, studying the playbook, studying for tests, putting in long hours over the summer and barely getting to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas, going through the NFL Combine, the Senior Bowl and the Pro Day, I was not about to let my big win go uncelebrated.
And you should celebrate too. It is time to celebrate your journey with the people you love.
I often extol the virtues of celebrating every win. Your journey matters. Although you may not be getting drafted into the NFL, you have something to celebrate in your life — with your family and your friends.
These are your moments, your wins, your life.