Interview with Mr and Mrs Carl Parker, Part I
TCI: Talk to us a little bit about your Clemson experience, first off about the experience this weekend……obviously a great game for Clemson last night(Clemson vs Auburn).
Mrs Parker: Okay, we didn’t bring any of the rest of the children with us, we do have our other son Collin coming up, driving thru the rain now to get here. A lot of the families(baseball) and it’s always exciting to get together, we have formed very close bonds with them and so we have a good time wherever we go.
Mr Parker: I would have to say that is one of the best things about it is that, you know, you talk about the Tiger family and it really is that way. Just great people on both the football and the baseball side……not just friendships that I know Kyle has made here but relationships that we have made with friends and family that will last a long time beyond whatever happens here at Clemson.
TCI: You guys are in a unique position just from the families you deal with in getting to be with families from baseball and football, talk to us about the family following of football vs baseball.
Mrs Parker: Well, it is different. Baseball is a sport that usually the kids have all played a very long time…..and to be at this level it’s taken a lot of commitment from families….a lot of time, a lot of money to develop them. It’s not a sport that…., well most of the families are intact, and they travel with their kids and it is a little different than football. (There are) fewer families also, you know, because there are only, what, thirty kids on the team versus over one hundred on the football team, and you do play a lot more games so you get a chance to get know the people and your are around them a lot more.
TCI: Do you feel like the baseball families, in some ways, are closer since it is a smaller group and you get to know the other families better?
Mr Parker: I think the length of the season, as Cathy alludes to, and the amount of time you spend…..you are playing five games a week and everybody sits in the stands together…you do, you see the little nuances and you understand what people have gone thru………when you only have a ten game season for football you really don’t have an opportunity to get to know the other families. I think the other things that’s really interesting too when you look at it is you’re looking at 11.2 scholarships for baseball. Most of the kids here are on half scholarships and the other half they have to pay for it. One of the crazy things like a redshirt year……….a redshirt year in football really doesn’t mean a lot, it means the kid is gonna be here another year and the athletic program will pay for that scholarship another year. When a redshirt year occurs for a baseball guy they have to come out and figure, okay how does that fit financially for the family……there is a lot more impact on whether it is just good for them athletically or not.
TCI: What are some of the differences in the “recruiting” process you are dealing with now in regards to the professional teams looking at Kyle and how that is similar or different to what you went through three and four years ago when Clemson and other schools were recruiting Kyle to play college ball?
Mr. Parker: I don’t think the process is any different at all. You know, when you look at it you have to number one, establish what your goals are and number two you have to develop a plan and number three you have to figure out what resources you have to be able to implement the plan. I think we have been very fortunate that there are a lot of things that have been put in our way that are great resources to help us understand the things that need to get accomplished and tried to set realistic goals. You sit down, and as I have said before, this isn’t our decision, it’s Kyle’s decision. He has put himself here and we try to be a resource for him and help him sort through some things, there are a lot of familiarity with it and a lot of similarities that are out there. I believe that Kyle……we have been able to put it out there and say okay here are the options and here is what is happening and those things will go with him. It is fun, it is unique. It’s a blessing. I tell people all the time that it is stressful sometimes but it is a blessing. God has put some great opportunities in Kyle’s path and he has been blessed more than we will ever be able express.
TCI: Do you think there is pressure on Kyle because of the draft coming up? Is he able to enjoy himself here this week and hopefully on into Omaha? Is the draft a distraction for him now?
Mrs Parker: I think Carl does a really good job of taking that off of him and saying you don’t worry about that. I have to say it is different than when he was being recruited because you don’t really have a lot of say over…..you don’t really make the choice, someone chooses you. You know, when he was being recruited to play football at Clemson, Clemson was the first school to offer him and he loved Clemson and they loved him…….we met coach Swinney and we loved him. It really wasn’t that difficult of a decision because we knew who the player were, we knew who really wanted him. With this aspect, with the major league baseball, there are just a whole lot of unknowns, you really have to wait and see what all comes of it.
TCI: Are you guys…….what’s the family like? Obviously every kids goal is to be good enough at something, obviously if they are an athlete they want to be good enough to be a professional athlete, and the draft is just a few days away. Are you guys excited to see what happens next week, what are you emotions right now?
Mrs Parker: Yes it is exciting……all of our kids are good athletes…..I don’t take any credit for that i know that got that from their dad, but Kyle especially has sacrificed a lot through for many many years and he has worked really hard to someday get to play at the next level. We are just really thankful for it, thankful that he has the opportunity whether he takes advantage of it now or later, that’s all to be determined. I think all of our family is very supportive.
TCI: Carl, obviously you are helping Kyle get through this process and deal with the pressure, what do you do to help with the pressure he is feeling from teammates or obviously Coach Swinney would love to have him stay………he has others probably pulling him in all different directions……you played in the NFL, you’ve been through the process, what kind of advice are you giving him to help him through the next couple of months?
Mr Parker: That goes back to what we were talking about when you asked how it was different(from recruiting) and we established a goal, and said okay what is it that you really want to do……..and the=n come up with a plan and say how does that really impact the rest of your life. We said let’s have some parameters here so you really understand if you do this, this is the impact over the next ten years, if you do this, this is the impact…..so that he understands these are the decision that i make now but this is the impact down the road.
As far as the pressure goes, Kyle has always been very good at separating some stuff and saying, “look this is what I do, it’s not who I am”. “Everybody understands that whether I decide to do this or whether I decide to go another route, I am the same person” He has numerous friends that, you know, its funny to hear him talk about being on the bus at the music city bowl when the first words started coming out that Kyle may leave and his teammates were all sitting there yelling “He’s going to take the money” and Kyle, nodding his head, said “I wish they were offering it but it ain’t happening”. So you know, there are just so many things that go out that just aren’t fact and his friends are there and I think they care about him as much as a person as they do the player that he is.