Recap: Day Out With Dad with Moss

Recap: Day Out With Dad with Moss

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Story Courtesy of Canton Rep

Some of the kids attending Saturday morning’s “Day Out With Dad” event probably were in diapers when Randy Moss was a force of nature in the NFL.

Many weren’t even born yet.

But the appeal of the prolific wide receiver (along with the power of YouTube clips) is quite evident.

“Straight cash, homie!” a kid shouted after Moss was introduced, calling back to Moss’ answer on how he would pay an NFL fine back in 2008.

It was a comical aside on a day with plenty of smiles and a deeper message.

A registered crowd of 1,658 — it felt every bit of that, if not more — piled into the Paul L. David Athletic Training Center in Massillon for an event the Pro Football Hall of Fame has conducted by one name or another for more than 10 years. It originally was scheduled for the National Football & Youth Sports Complex next to McKinley High School, but a threatening weather forecast forced the Hall to audible on Thursday morning and move to the David Center’s spacious indoor environs.

Saturday offered a chance for fathers (and mothers and other relatives, too) to bond with their children over football while rubbing elbows with one of the greatest pass catchers in NFL history. Moss, a freakish athlete in his playing days at 6-foot-4 and 210 pounds, will be enshrined in the Hall in August. He was joined Saturday by Class of 1998 Hall of Famer Anthony Munoz, the former Cincinnati Bengals offensive lineman, and Hall of Fame president David Baker. Munoz conducts camps for youth all over the country, and his staff ran the football skills and character-building components of Saturday’s event with help from area coaches, including University of Akron head coach Terry Bowden.

Kids from just out of toddler age up to 12 years old went through several stations that included simple football drills, a bouncy house, an inflatable obstacle course and motivational speaking. Adults participated along with their kids when possible, leading to some funny and touching moments. Admission to the Hall was included with the event.

Moss, who turned 41 in February and looks capable of still playing in the NFL, hopped in and out of drills with the kids.

“He looks like me,” Moss said about one kid who wore receiving gloves before lofting a touchdown pass to him and lauding, “Good hands!”

Moss became a father when he was just 17. He had little contact with his own dad growing up, so there was no blueprint for him to follow.

“By me being raised without a father, I did not know how to be a father,” he told the crowd. “So throughout the years of me learning, watching, reading, that’s how I became a dad. The only thing I wanted was to give my children everything — or access to everything — that I did not have. It’s not about the money. It’s about the time that you put into your kids.”

Moss’ son, Thaddeus, will present his father for enshrinement on Aug. 4.

Munoz told a similar story, of growing up with a father imprisoned. The 11-time Pro Bowler never met him.

Andy Olds, the head football coach at Kings High School in the Cincinnati area and the director of Munoz’s football camps, highlighted a common thread in Moss and Munoz’s speeches.

“They didn’t talk about touchdown catches or awards,” Olds said. “These kids need to know that these guys had obstacles. We talk about the mountaintop. A helicopter didn’t drop those guys off at the mountaintop. They had a tough climb, and if those guys can do it, we can do it.”

Moss’ jerseys were by far the most popular uniform of Saturday. Whether it was his No. 88 Marshall jersey, his No. 84 Vikings jersey, his No. 18 Raiders jersey or his No. 81 Patriots jersey, he was represented everywhere.

One man wore a No. 40 “Dupont” shirt, a tribute to Moss’ high school basketball days (Moss was a two-time basketball player of the year in West Virginia to go along with his football exploits).

Randy Moss is huge. We’re noticing that for enshrinement weekend, too,” said Danielle Attar, the Hall’s manger of events and productions. “The love that they have for him and what an incredible guy he is — he wanted to walk around and shake every person’s hand today.

″... I don’t even think you have to be a his-team fan. You’re just a Randy Moss fan.”

John Jordan of Silver Lake in Summit County went to Marshall’s game at Kent State on Sept. 13, 1997 for his bachelor party. Moss totaled eight receptions for 216 yards and three touchdowns in a 42-17 Thundering Herd win.

“I’ll never forget it,” Jordan said as his son, Jett, participated in a punt catching drill. “Just the athleticism and being so tall and so fast. He was just bigger and stronger and faster than anybody that was a wide receiver. I had followed his career since he was in high school in West Virginia.”

Jordan loved one particular message from Moss on Saturday. Moss stressed to dads to “let your kids live their dreams through their eyes. Don’t live your dreams through your kids’ eyes.”

It’s hard to tell where those dreams could take these children.

Moss has an idea.

“One of you kids is looking at me right now with the same love, the same passion that I had when I was a kid,” he said. “There’s one kid looking at me right now that’s going to be in a gold jacket one day.

“Remember I said that.”

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