Mac Bledsoe, star's father, pumps up Billerica students with message of work, will
BILLERICA -- He didn't bring his famous son, but in the end, it didn't really matter.
Mac Bledsoe, motivational speaker and father to New England Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe, was a star in his own right, to the wide-eyed second-, third- and fourth-graders at the Thomas Ditson Elementary School.
Bledsoe, a Marlboro Man look-alike with faded jeans and cowboy boots, encouraged the kids to hold on to their hopes and dreams. He worked the room, kidding with the youngsters while tossing out powerful messages about making good decisions.
"Happiness is an attitude of choice," said the straight-talker from Walla Walla, Wash. His high-octane presentation was part of a series of motivational speeches he gave to local students, teachers and parents during his two-day speaking blitz. His "Parenting with Dignity" program is the educational arm of the Drew Bledsoe Foundation.
Even the teachers and administrators sitting on the sidelines appeared caught up in his powerful talk, as he wove real-life anecdotes into parables for life.
He told the kids that Drew's junior high school coach told him he had "no future" as a quarterback. This to a guy who went on to become the National Football League's No. 1 draft pick.
But from the looks of Drew back then, his father could have agreed: "He was skinny, clumsy, awkward," Bledsoe told the giggling kids.
But he didn't agree. He told his son, "Don't ever allow someone to have that much access to your dream and goals. They are yours."
Drew took his dad's words to heart and wrote a note to himself: "I am an NFL quarterback." He read that self-affirming slogan to himself three times a day.
He looked at the NFL players and realized that if he wanted to join them, he needed muscles. He dedicated himself to lifting weights and working out.
"When people call Drew 'talented,' I want to tell them about all the hard work that went into making that talent," Bledsoe said.
He pushed an anti-drug, anti-alcohol agenda.
"Wouldn't it be exciting if you guys were the first generation to stop living their lives addicted to drugs and alcohol? ... Because when you start using drugs, you have two career choices: dead or in prison," he told them.
His messages were well received by the pumped-up students.
"It was so good," said student Nicholas Imlach.
His classmate Danny Caliendo agreed, "It was great."
Christine McConville's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org