PASADENA – With her son Chase about to be part of a photo session at the Rose Bowl with other local high school football players signing their college letters of intent on Wednesday, Theresa Price needed to excuse herself from the festivities.
Price went to her car parked nearby, and sat down as a flood of emotions about the experience of being the parent of a high-profile athlete about to realize his dream hit her.
“I had to go to the car because I shed some tears because I was overjoyed,” Price said. “To see him be a part of this with all those other great athletes, those young men, and just thinking about how hard they worked, I had some tears.”
Chase Price, a running back from Diamond Ranch High, signed with San Diego State on Wednesday. Athletic success is nothing new to the Price family.
Price’s mother Theresa was a volleyball player at Long Beach State. Her husband Ricky played running back at Utah. So Chase simply is following in the family tradition.
Tuesday’s photo op at the Rose Bowl and Wednesday’s actual signing and fax deliveries of each football player’s letter of intent proved to be an emotional time for all of the parents involved.
Like the Price family, football success is nothing new to the Sanders. La Salle’s Kishon Sanders, whose grandfather is Duarte football coach Tip Sanders, signed his letter to play at UTEP next season.
For Kishon’s mother, Latasha, the time commitment needed to help her son reach his dream was what came to mind to first.
“I don’t even know where to start,” Latasha Sanders said. “From flag football until now, next year is going to be my first year that I don’t have to worry about going to practice, going to Chick’s or Dick’s, buying cleats, buying every Under Armor that comes out, all these wrist bands and arm bands, going to parent meetings, going to games on Friday nights and going to 8 o’clock Saturday morning film practices.
“It’s overwhelming, but it was all worth it. I’m just looking forward to not doing it next year.”
Latasha Sanders, who was a standout basketball player at Marshall High in Pasadena before becoming a cheerleader at Southern University, said she will attend Kishon’s games even though they’re in El Paso, Texas.
But before she knows it, two more of her sons might be bidding for scholarships.
“Right before I start to miss it, I think it will be time for Kishon’s little brothers to start,” she said. “In two years, we’ll be right back at it again.”
For Brian Clements, watching his son Cody develop into a quarterback good enough to sign with Washington State was a dream come true.
Quarterback Cody Clements, who led La Habra to back-to-back CIF championships in his two seasons under center, is heading to Pullman, Wash., after not knowing if he’d even be the starter at La Habra going into his junior season.
“It’s exciting,” said Cody’s father Brian Clements, who played at wide receiver at
St. Paul when he was in high school. “It’s something Cody’s been wanting to do since he was a little kid and to see it actually come true is pretty exciting.”
Brian Clements got first-hand involvement in Cody’s development by being an assistant coach on his Pop Warner teams. But once in high school, he got to sit back and watch his son play his way into a scholarship.
But just because Cody took dad off the hook in terms of paying for college, that doesn’t mean his attending Washington State won’t be expensive for the family.
“Like a lot of parents realize when their kids go away to school, the money you may save as far as the schooling and stuff, you’re going to spend a lot of it on traveling back and forth and getting your kid back and forth,” Brian Clements said. “But it will all be worth it.”
Stressing the importance of grades and test scores was the common theme among this year’s crop of parents whose sons were fortunate enough to reach the next level so many of their peers will miss.
Each year, signing day is filled with stories of athletes who were more than good enough on the field to earn a scholarship but didn’t have what it takes in the classroom.
“With the new NCAA rules and the colleges having to keep up their APR ratings (Academic Progress Rates), I don’t think it’s caught on with a lot of athletes,” Theresa Price said. “I don’t think they realize that they have to take core classes in high school because even though you might be able to get a scholarship to a college, you still also have to be able to get into that school.
“I just hope parents understand that. Don’t be an athlete student, be a student athlete. Grades are most important. Sports are temporary.”