In the second part, I asked both of their mothers the same 4 questions, and got some really good, interesting answers, from a mother’s perspective. I’ll ask the question, and then give both of their responses before moving to the next question.
Kyyote: Can you tell me a little about your son’s recruitment to UTEP?
“Well, the whole recruitment process is very interesting. We didn’t know anything about it, and UTEP turned out to be one of the last schools that offered him a scholarship. We had already visited, taken official visits to several schools, and we’d had several coaches come to the house, and when he got the call, because you know at first he said he didn’t really didn’t think he’d be interested in going to UTEP, but then, nce he started tolking to coaches, and we took the official visit, I think he became convinced that that was where he really wanted to go. But, we did get to meet with Coach Price, he and a couple of the other coaches came to Huntsville. It was around the Christmas Holidays, so things were pretty hectic at that point, anyway. I remember, to be honest, that I really thought that Adam would play baseball somewhere. We never dreamed that he would go into football. So, we hadn’t really paid a lot of attention to the whole recruiting process and how that works. But, when he came home one day, I guess that spring, and said yeah, or I guess it was that summer, because we had taken him to several schools to check out their Junior Days and their different programs, he said, yeah, they’ll be doing home visits, and I was like, what do you mean home visits, Honey?
He said, “Well they’ll come to our house.”
I said, “You mean our house? They’re going to come to my house?”
He said, “Yes, ma’am.”
I said, “Oh, no, they’re not. I’m going to have to go buy new furniture. . .”
He just started laughing and said, “No, Mom. It’ll be O.K..”
I had to laugh. That sounded just exactly like what my wife would have said. The house needs to be cleaned up, and all of that.
“How many days notice do I get?, Ms. Ayala laughed. I’m going to have to take off work. . .So, it was an intersting, stressful period of time, but it was exciting at the same time. We were very proud of Adam, of course, and all of his accomplishments, and I think he handled that whole situation in a very mature way. I was very impressed with the way he handled that, and he contacted the coaches after he had made his decision, and made the verbal commitment. And he contacted the other schools to tell them that he had made the verbal commitment to UTEP. I thought he handled that very well. So, we were very proud of him.”
“He’s an impressive young man”, I said.
“Yes. Of course I’m biased. I think that he is. He’s always been mature for his age, you know, for the most part. One of those kids that when he started talking, he talked in complete sentences. He started reading at 4 years old. I always read to him and everything, but one day he just decided that I want to do that myself, and picked up a book and started reading. So, once he sets his mind to do something he can be pretty dedicated to it. He had decided that he wanted to play football and that’s what he was going to do. He did it.”
Well, it was really exciting. It just so happened that I was the one who took him to the camp. Chad (James’ father) had to be out of town, that day and he was real disappointed and I took James to the camp. It was the first, I think it was about the only camp I took him to. Oh, it was so hot. You can’t imagine how hot it was that day. In fact, I had to force myself at one point to get up and go get myself some Gatorade at this little 7-11 store. Anyway, we went to this camp and I sat there and watched him. It was at the other side of Houston, so we had to get up early and drive over an hour and a half to get there. I don’t remember things real well, so I was taking notes on my little tablet. Any time it’s just me watching one of the boys do sports I have to take notes so I can remember everything I have to tell my husband, so that he knows what went on, and I don’t miss anything. So, I had my little tablet and I was taking notes and everything, and like I said, I don’t even know how those kids could stay out there on that field, it was so hot. Then, after the camp, they took the boys outside to the stadium, and you know, I really didn’t, I mean, I had listened to the coaches do their preliminary introduction event. So, being there for the first time, and sitting up high, I couldn’t really hear. You know, the boys were sitting down there where the coaches were, and the parents were kind of up in the stands, the ones that were there. So, I didn’t really know who all of the coaches were, and the boys were going off of the field and they were taking them up under the stadium to fix them some hamburger, hot dogs, and get them some Gatorade and stuff. So, I walked over there and Coach Price, I found out later it was Coach Price, I mean I did realize that he was the head coach, but i didn’t know his name, and Coach Price called me over.”
He said, “What do you have there?”
“I said, I have to take notes, sometimes I can’t remember everything to tell my husband what happened, what they did, so I take notes so that I can tell him.”
He said, “Let me see your tablet.”
“I was thinking, Oh God. What did I write? I hope I didn’t write anything ugly about the coaches. So, he borrowed my tablet, and he wrote on there, “Full Scholarship”. I said, what?”
He said, “We want to offer James a full scholarship.”
“I was like, Oh, my God! You’re kidding me. So, then we called his dad on the way home, and we told him, he said, “Really”, and I said, Yeah. I’ve got it in writing, because he had taken my tablet and wrote on it. I said, well, that’s pretty cool. So, yeah, it was a very interesting recruiting thing. It really was kind of unique. I really didn’t know what to expect. I hadn’t been to a camp before. But, Chad had to work, and so I took him, so that was kind of an unusual event. Then, of course when he went for his visitation out there, that was a really unique thing too, because the player they teamed him up with was Braxton Amy and he was just so good with James. They hit it right off, and that was a good sell for James too, because Braxton Amy is just a unique awesome athlete himself. Even to this day, he will walk half way across the hotel lobby to say hello to my husband. When he sees us, he’s just an awesome individual. He’s a very well mannered young man. Yeah, it was very impressive for James to have somebody like that team up with him, when he went out for his visit.
I asked if they could tell me what factors made UTEP the right choice for their son.
Ms. Ayala: ”I think it was a combination of things. As I said, he liked the coach, he was very impressed with the coaching staff, and of course with the university. He was familiar with the layout of the university anyway, as that’s where his father went to school, and his aunt and uncle both graduated from there. So, it was like not, it was like going away from home, but being home at the same time. So, there was a level of comfort there, because he was familiar with the city, even though he’s never lived there. Of course, we visited quite often, and he liked the program. For him, he felt like he was going home, in a way.”
Ms. Davidson: ”Well, the best we could tell from the different schools that had been looking at James, it was UTEP seemed to be a, you know it was a long ways away, which is hard for Mom, it seemed to be the right school for him. It wasn’t a huge school, you know, like an A&M, or a Texas where they kind of get lost. We were just, we were very impressed with the coaching staff, the ones we had met, that we had interacted with. We knew that Coach Price was certainly recognized as a player’s coach, and as Mom that’s worth a lot. We want our kids treated right. So, that’s important. The different things that they showed us when we were out there. I really was impressed with the workout facility, and the way it was overlooking the field where it kind of keeps them focused on what they’re doing in that workout room. It kind of brings it all into perspective for them.”
“Have you been able to watch your son play”, I asked?
Ms. Ayala: ”Yes. We were there for the game against SMU. That was a really good game. We’re actually going to be driving out Friday to go to the Tulsa game. We did not get to go to the Arkansas game. We watched it on tv. We usually watch it through the computer, on the computer if we’re not able to physically be there. So, we’ve tried to make it to as many games as possible, this year.”
Ms. Davidson: ”Absolutely. We went to some of the games even last year, when he was redshirted. Actually, we even made some long road trips, to Memphis, and they were very enjoyable. Getting our game faces on for when he would get to play. Buying all of our paraphenalia with our UTEP. Yeah, you all should see my pedicure that I got with my orange toenails with a little blue stripe in ‘em. I’m telling you that I’m UTEP, all the way. We have really had fun going on the road to the games and watching them play. We enjoyed the game day experience where we get to go visit them at the hotel in the middle of the day. We’re only there for about 30 minutes but its really awesome the way they have it set up, the way they treat the boys, the way they take care of them, and like I said, for us moms that’s the important thing. We want to know are taken care of. They’re a long way away from us. We can’t be there so I made sure of that before I let him go out there. I looked every one of them in the eye and I said, You know what, I trust you to take care of my boy.”
“How’s your son doing”, I asked them?
Ms. Ayala: ”I think he’s doing well. I mean, it’s tough. This is his first semester where he’s going to classes, and playing because he’s a redshirt, but he seems to be, he says his classes are going well. The way he puts it is, “I’m passing, Mom.” I said, Well we’re hoping for A’s and B’s, Honey. I told him when you get your report card, you will show it to me. I know, he has to keep reminding me, “I’m not in high school anymore, Mom.” It’s very stressful. It’s very, you know, he’s tired a lot. I think its more physically taxing than probably he was expecting. I don’t know that you can ever prepare for that. He played on the scout team a lot last year, but its just not exactly the same as it is when you’re out there on the field. But, he loves it. He absolutely loves it. He has adjusted to it, although I think he’s just got a little touch of homesickness because he really wanted to come home for Thanksgiving, even though we’re going to fly him home for Christmas of course, or after their bowl game. But, we were like, of course, Honey, if you want to come home, you can come home. So, we’re going to be tickled to have him here a couple of days next week.”
Ms. Davidson: ”Well, he’s learning a lot. I think he’s got a lot to learn, but I think he’s learning a lot and he’s anxious to do well. That’s just James. He’s going to give 110%. He’s done that in every sport he’s ever played. he works hard, to do well. He’s never satisfied, so that’s the kind of determination you’ve got to have. I think his Black Belt training has helped him in a lot of ways, with a lot of things in his sporting career. It has kind of laid his foundation for who he is, and how he plays. You’ve got to have that discipline, and that flexibility, that want to, and drive, and he just never gives up.”
I want to thank Adam and James. They stayed after a hard practice, in the cold, and answered all of my questions cheerfully, and completely. The people of Huntsville, and their families can be very proud of these two representatives of theirs.
I also want to thank the two mothers who graciously gave of their time, and allowed me to ask my questions of them. It is so very easy to see why their sons are such fine young men. There is no doubt in my mind that they will be great successes both on the field and in life.