Myra Bean Column
I always wanted this to happen but I did not know if I would ever see it.
I did not know if I would get to see three athletes drafted into the pro ranks in the same year within two months of each other from South Panola.
For this little school, town and county, that’s a big deal.
As David Renfroe joined the ranks of the pros, my heart swelled along with his parents, coaches and long time friends.
In talking with both his parents, they are still ecstatic about David’s draft. They have a right to be.
I will take a little time right here to introduce our sports blog on www.panolian.com. Some people have already started commenting and having back-and-forth conversations. Brad Greer, Rick Mills and I will be updating as fast as we can when sports news break.
David Renfroe’s father, Laddie, was drafted out of college in 1984 with the Chicago Cubs. He spent most of his years in the minor league and retired in 1992 from a head injury. He did get some starts with the Cubbies but played mostly reliever, he said.
Laddie was the number 622 pick overall. David was 107.
“I know he was better than me,” his dad said, laughing.
Though Laddie was born in Natchez, he grew up in New Hampshire about 30 odd miles from Boston and Fenway Park. He used to go to the Red Sox games on his birthdays.
“I was glad David could follow in what I did,” the elder Renfroe said. “He had a choice and he wanted to play. I am real excited he got drafted and will be able to follow his dream.”
Laddie said when David was growing up, he would tell him he was always more talented than him.
Any parent would have trepidation about his 18-year-old going that far away from home without benefit of a college education and at first Laddie did.
David will get his tuition paid in addition to a signing bonus, according to Laddie.
“I didn’t have that choice right out of high school,” he said. “David has his priorities and goals in order. At first I thought he should go to college, but now I think he is mature enough to play.”
I am totally proud of David and the way he worked hard for what he wanted. He got them to notice him. Last summer, he played at the Cubs field in the all-star game and was the only player to hit a homerun. His list of accomplishments read like a professor’s curriculum vitae.
It has been a privilege and an honor to document his accomplishments throughout his early years and be a part of recording this big step he has taken.
He knows he will have to work hard to make it in the big league and he is not shrinking from that which also tells of his character that has held him steady throughout his life.
David grew up in Panola County and like other youngsters he could have said there was nothing to do and got in trouble. He chose another avenue and it’s paying off. And he and his parents have sacrificed.
Another David has done the same thing. David Conner was a football dandy dozen pick.
These two have been friends since the third grade. After they posed for this photo at graduation, Conner shook his head (probably to hide some emotions) and said, “We’ve been bonding together since third grade.”
It’s senior moments like that which make it hard to move on to next year’s sporting events.
The related story on B1 tells the story. Conner did what it takes to get eligible to play sports in college, making this Dandy Dozen class the first one in history.
The Clarion-Ledger staff does not take into account academics when picking the top 12 players in the preseason. They do take into account the eligibility factor when listing the top 40 recruits.
So this was a major accomplishment and shows what can be done when athletes try to be successful and not use excuses to fail.
David Conner has said he will not attend UAB and will go to Northwest. Whether he will play football is up in the air, but if he does not he will still go far in whatever he decides to do. He is a hard worker with a great work ethic and leadership ability.
I am going to miss these two. They both have the same rock solid demeanor on the field. They are both so coachable and strong leaders to their teams. I know the coaches felt when they were not around that the teams were in good hands when the two Davids were present.
They kept their cool after the loss to Meridian in the state football championship. That is what leaders do and that demeanor should take them both a long way.
A big congratulations to my “two Davids” on writing your own futures.