NORMAN — Keaton Wingo hid his head in his hands as he choked back the words.
“I feel very honored that he went and fought for our freedom …”
That's when the 14-year-old paused.
“I'm sorry,” he said. “I'm not good at this.”
Sitting on a camouflage lawn seat, he glanced at his father, Sgt. First Class Kory Wingo. Day 2 of The OldSpice Sam Bradford Football ProCamp had just ended. That's two hot days of drills, sweat and suffering, but Keaton didn't complain.
“You havin' fun out there?” Sgt. Wingo had asked his son earlier in the day in between games.
“Yes,” Keaton replied.
“Are you hot?”
“Yeah,” Keaton said, then looked at his dad who was dressed in uniform. “Are you?”
“Yeah,” his dad laughed. “You could wring my undershirt out.”
Father and son shared a laugh before Keaton limped back onto the field. He was sore. His thighs, his hamstrings, they hurt. It's because he got lazy. That's 14-year-old lazy, which means he took a little downtime in between playing basketball, baseball, soccer and football. Keaton also took a year off from football. He wasn't sure if he really wanted to play anymore.
Then came the invitation. Sam Bradford's camp wanted to honor a veteran's kid with a free-ride scholarship to the camp. That kid was Keaton.
On Day 1 of the camp, Keaton was given a free football autographed by Sam Bradford, in honor of his dad's service.
“On the way home yesterday,” Sgt. Wingo said, “He took my phone and started looking up glass cases.”
For now, the football sits in Wingo's home in Shawnee. His little brother tried touching it a few times.
“I told him he better not put any fingerprints on it,” Keaton said.
Once he gets the case, Keaton plans to put the football, along with some photos from camp, on his dresser to remind him of those two grueling days in July when he learned how to run better routes and catch better. After all, it's Bradford's camp that's renewed a spark in his football career.
In August, Keaton will start ninth grade, and he's looking at beginning two-a-days. He's played wide receiver and corner but he's realized he's a little better at corner. Camp taught him that.
He'd have bragging rights as a wide receiver, though. He did catch two passes from an NFL quarterback.
“I'm still a Saints fan,” Keaton said. “I watched every game he played at OU though. I still watch every game.”
Sgt. Wingo is glad Keaton remained a fan of Bradford's even after the former Sooner quarterback went to the Rams. He thought Bradford sent a great message to the kids at camp on Day 2 when he told them he wouldn't be anywhere today if it wasn't for his dad, and they should listen to their fathers.
“My kid's a regular 14-year-old punk who doesn't always listen,” Sgt. Wingo said. “I'm happy Sam talked about his father today … I'm honored they gave Keaton a scholarship for camp.”
Keaton sat on the camouflage stool and squinted. A fellow camper walked up in his gray shirt next to a woman who looked to be his mom. Her hand was extended toward Sgt. Wingo.
“Thank you for your service,” she said.
Keaton's multicolored braces showed through his slight smile. This may have been Day 2 of tiring drills and endless routes, but today the campers learned that family is important. Keaton already knew this. His dad recently returned home from Afghanistan. That tour is what makes the 14-year-old choke up as he hides his face. This is Day 60.