Sunday, December 11, 2016

The Final Chapter - College Football Dad - 12-11-16

I sit here today reflecting on all of the things that happened during Matt's time at Louisiana Tech. It is just amazing how things went and how things turned out.
We are so blessed to have experienced these times with Matt, Kasie and all of our family and friends. It is hard for me to believe that 4 years have gone by since Matt was last on the field. We still go to all of the home games and have joined forces with some of our tailgate friends and formed a large tailgate family.
There is no place in the country where you can get as close to the action and we just love it.  As I look back on things I want to share some of the milestones that have happened during the last 4 years. After football was over Matt continued to work towards his masters.It is incredible that in 4 years and playing football that he could earn his masters degree.
We are so very proud of this accomplishment. Matt graduated with his masters degree in business/finance on August 15, 2013. During this time Matt continued to work on his kicking and continued to train with Michael Husted of Husted Kicking. Matt knew it was very difficult to make if to the NFL but wanted to give it a good go and see what would happen. In May of 2013 Matt got a call from the New England Patriots and they brought him in for a workout.
Everything went well and even though they did not bring him to training camp it was a great experience. Matt married his high school sweetheart Kasie Onken who also attended Louisiana Tech and earned her degree in biology. It was an beautiful wedding that was attended by family from all over the USA, along with several football players that Matt played with. Josh Scobee and his wife came in from Florida and it was very special for them to be there. We also had a special appearance from Champ who is La Tech's mascot.
It was really awesome as Champ led everyone in singing La Tech's fight song. I have several amazing memories from the wedding weekend from all of the groomsmen staying in our apartment to the amazing duo of Matt Sheppard and Mikayla Stiles (Currently attending La Tech) singing the Chris Young song "She's got this thing about her", to Matt and his mom dancing. We were so glad to officially have Kasie in our family. We are blessed in so many ways. As Matt continued to work on his kicking craft he decided to form a company called Matt Nelson Kicking Academy in the fall of 2013. This would allow Matt the ability
to work with kids who also have a desire to develop there kicking craft. He is working with grade school, high school and college kids. This will allow them to be at peak performance when they are called upon. He  puts on the kicking camps during the summer months at La Tech, ULM and Mississippi State. It is fun seeing him do this. As Matt continued with his kicking business he also joined the working force and started working for Merrill Lynch in February of 2014 as a financial adviser.
He has passed all of his certifications and will be working out of the Monroe, LA location. We are very are excited to see how his career advances. Working full time presented some challenges for him as he continued to stay in kicking shape in case he got a call from an NFL team. Sure enough in May of 2014 the Cleveland Browns brought Matt in for their rookie mini camp. It was an intense 3 days but in the end they did not bring him back to training camp. What a great experience just to get invited to an NFL tryout! Matt and Kasie, who works in pharmaceutical sales, decided to buy their first home in Ruston. They closed the deal in November of 2014. Oh happy day! Now we have a place to stay when we come back over for the football games. We are very excited for you both. In March of this year Matt joined forces with Husted Kicking and has formed Husted Kicking South and will be operating his training sessions, private lessons and charting for National Camp Series as Husted Kicking South.
This was huge for him as he continues to grow his kicking business. Matt is a highly successful kicker who has been mentored and trained by some of the NFL's elite all time kickers. He looks to pay it forward by mentoring and training young kickers who have the desire and passion to kick at a higher level. As parents of two amazing sons and the father in law to an amazing daughter in law it truly a blessing when you get a phone call and you find out you are going to be grandparents.
In March of this year we got that phone call and were in hog heaven. When Matt and Kasie were ready to release the sex of the baby they came to Dallas and had Janet and I throw darts at balloons until we popped the one that released the blue confetti. A baby boy it was going to be. Hoo ya! Shortly after the unveiling we were told that our grandchild would be named Stiles Jacob Nelson. How amazing is that?
Janet's maiden name is Stiles and what an honor it is to have Stiles and Nelson in the same name. We are so excited and so very proud of Matt and Kasie. As Stiles continued to develop we had an idea of a time frame but when you finally get that call that we are on the way to the hospital you start to freak out. On 9-29-16 at 9:16 PM Mr Stiles Jacob Nelson was born. He entered the world at 8 pounds, 3 ounces and was 20.5 inches long. The tears of joy were flowing.
Janet and I (AKA Nellie and Pop's) made it over early the following morning and we finally got to hold that young man. It was an incredible moment and it is something that we will never forget. Matt and Kasie we are so proud of you both. Mr Stiles I can not wait for the day that you can read this journey that your dad took all of us on. It was an amazing road in life that brought so many family members and friends together. We made so many life time friends along this path as well. We love you Matt, Kasie and Stiles and we can not wait to follow your path as you move forward in life.
As many of you know our family has been battling this nasty thing called cancer. Janet was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014 and to this day is still going through treatments. Please keep her and our family in your prayers as we beat this thing. I love you Janet! Our family motto is Kicking Cancer - Fighting Together! Cancer truly Sucks! #teamJ. It is that time that I finally close the book on this amazing journey. What a blast it has been and I have been so honored and blessed to follow Matt Nelson through his eyes as he played football at La Tech. I personally have learned so much about life and I can not thank Matt enough. I have watched a young man grow into an amazing person and now an awesome husband and dad.
Thank you for so many memories. As I close the book I want to thank all of those who followed my journey. I write from the bottom of my heart and what my feelings are at that time. I am a college football fan and I love college football. Thanks again for the opportunity to share this journey. Merry Christmas and enjoy the time with your family! College Football Dad!