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Published February 03 2011

Clark: National Signing Day was quite the event in Texas

Today is National Signing Day, which means the start of something new for football players and their families.

In Texas, where I was a sports writer for two years, every day seems to be National Signing Day. Football just gets amplified on a day like today.

For media back in Texas, National Signing Day is hell. Imagine a day where everyone speculates as to where someone will go, if they have the grades to attend that school or if a school will swoop in at the last minute?

I am willing to bet that around here when a kid signs, people are orderly about getting into the gym or library before the moment happens.

Not in Texas. If you are signing in a gym, the whole school gets out of class to watch a kid sign. If it is in the library, forget about getting into the room if you’re not among the first 200 to arrive.

In this area, there are quaint ceremonies. In Texas, they have news conferences.

And schools are so smart about it too. In the Beaumont area alone, there were 45 schools to cover. More than 20 usually had kids signing.

The Beaumont district schools would always have an 8 a.m., 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. news conference for the three schools. Other schools in the region scheduled news conferences too, making it a nightmare for coverage plans.

The goal was to get news conference schedules a week in advance to plan things out. Last year, one of my rookie cohorts got lost on his way to a school that had kids sign for Oklahoma. It made us realize that it might not be a bad idea to have maps in the car.

People are so quick to claim football in Texas as a religion.

If that indeed is the case, National Signing Day would be the most important day in that religion.

People care about the season opener and the playoffs. But they care about it because they want Signing Day to lead to their kid signing with a school.

College coaches make sure their fax machines works really, really well on Signing Day. They hang out in their offices next to fax machines because that is the key to knowing who their incoming class will be.

When Signing Day is over, it’s great. But in Texas, when Signing Day is over, you start planning for next year.

In short, it never stops. It never sleeps.

Signing Day owns your soul and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Ryan S. Clark at (701) 241-5548 or rclark@forumcomm.com