Undrafted

Thursday night at Brion’s Grill in Fairfax my campaign will be hosting our first “Chappy Hour” of the 2015 campaign season.   Please stop by for a drink or wings.

We’ll be watching the “NFL Draft,” a night which is like Christmas Day for football fans.  (Imagine Mel Kiper breaking down the arrival of baby Jesus.  “He’s got great vision, tremendous upside.   But can he handle a Roman-dominated world?”)

There are the Top Picks, who will be at the Draft with their entourage; typically, it’s mom and dad, siblings, a random girlfriend, and the family pastor.  The Top Pick is the awkward giant in the ill-fitting suit with the cell phone pressed to his ear.  The golden phone call has arrived.  In that moment, the summer “two-a-days” and early morning workouts finally pay off.  He’s made it.

My fascination is with the guys who fall to the lower rounds or go undrafted.  Nobody covers those phone calls.  And yet so many of them go on to be the backbone of Super Bowl champions.   Who is this year’s Tom Brady?

I relate to the undrafted guys — those who are scrambling just to get bus fare to camp.  The guys who show up hungry and beat out the bonus babies.

When I came out of law school in 1994, I was undrafted.  I had clerked for two major law firms — and neither offered me a job.  I called just about every single law firm in northern Virginia (and everywhere else) and left hundreds of un-returned messages, until I finally got an offer.   Two years later, that firm split up and I was on the street again.

That was 20 years ago.  Now my partners and I own a firm which has 45 employees, 20 lawyers and (soon) two State Senators.  But it seems like a dream.  All my career I’ve remembered that I was undrafted — and I have to prove myself every day.

Maybe you were a Top Pick in your life.  Or maybe you were undrafted.  Either way, join us at Brion’s Grill next Thursday.  I’ll save a cold one for you.

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