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Can I have your autograph?

by Craig Mattick

NFL training camps are now open, and so is the floodgate of requests for autographs.  If you've never been to an NFL training camp, its fun to watch the kids rush NFL players for their autographs.  The younger kids don't care who the player is.  They may be getting an autograph from the cornerback who was drafted in the last round.  Kids don't know who he is, but its an autograph from someone at an NFL training camp.  By the way, that cornerback who was drafted in the last round? He's very happy anyone is asking for his autograph, because in two weeks he may have an office job instead of trying to cover an NFL wide receiver.

I've never been big on getting autographs.  I remember going to a Father-Son banquet many years ago at a Lutheran church basement in Minnesota.  Might have been 7 years old.  I don't remember who the Minnesota Twins player was there that day, but I remember Don Cassidy was there.  Cassidy was one of the first promotions director for the Twins. (Cassidy passed away in 2001 at the age of 66).  I was a kid who loved the Twins and I didn't care what they did for the Twins, I wanted their autograph.  I got Cassidy's autograph and kept that little piece of paper in small box with other stuff little boys keep for whatever reason.  I forgot about the autograph and the other stuff in the small box, as mom threw it away.  I don't know when she did it.  But I still remember that autograph of Don Cassidy.  In fact, it was the  only autograph I have ever asked for.  I've had numerous opportunities to get autographs from current and former athletes over the years.  I still kick myself I should have asked for Harmon Killebrew's (Minnesota Twins) signature, but I didn't.

It's ok to ask for autographs, as long as you keep it.