High School Football

Rock Hill’s Ben Watson talks parenting, Northwestern football, speaking your mind

Benjamin Watson and his father talk about when they first moved to Rock Hill

New Orleans Saints tight end Benjamin Watson and his father, Rev. Ken Watson, talked about when the Watson family first moved to Rock Hill, S.C. in the 1990s during an FCA fundraiser in Lancaster April 23, 2018.
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New Orleans Saints tight end Benjamin Watson and his father, Rev. Ken Watson, talked about when the Watson family first moved to Rock Hill, S.C. in the 1990s during an FCA fundraiser in Lancaster April 23, 2018.

Benjamin Watson jetted into Charlotte Monday night and fought through rainy traffic to speak at a Fellowship of Christian Athletes fundraiser at Lancaster's Second Baptist Church.

WRHI's Chris Miller talked with Watson and his father, Rev. Ken Watson, for about 30 minutes in a wide-ranging conversation. Check out some of the highlights below, as well as a video of the entire conversation on The Herald's Facebook page (or below):

On moving to Rock Hill from Norfolk, Va.

"We didn't have Siri -- 'what is a Rock Hill, South Carolina? -- I don't think it was even on the map back then. But the one thing we knew was our mother and father were going to honor God with their decisions. We knew, even though we didn't like it, that Daddy was going to move us somewhere where he felt God wanted him to go. And he wasn't gonna ask a lot of questions. And we weren't gonna ask him a lot of questions."

On trying out for the Northwestern football team after moving to Rock Hill

"Like Daddy said, I didn't really start playing football until ninth grade. I played one year of little league because he was the coach. He said 'you can play if I'm the coach' and that lasted one season. Him coaching other people's kids? I don't think he wanted to smack them kids upside the head anymore. So that lasted for one year.

"For me, it was tough at first. I was in 10th grade and I remember sitting in the gym for training camp, well, two-a-days, three-a-days that we had back then and (coach Jimmy Wallace) saying 'JV guys go here, varsity guys over there.' In 10th grade, most guys played JV, but I'd had a conversation with Daddy that I wanted to try out for varsity and I went to varsity and I can remember getting my head beat in by the varsity guys. And going up to the locker room and pretending my stomach hurt so I didn't have to go to practice against those guys. But over time I adjusted and I think it was a really good move for me, personally."

Check out the full Q&A with Benjamin Watson here:

Great advice from former New England Patriots teammate Tedy Bruschi

"He said, 'Benjamin, you need to learn to leave work at work. When you come into your driveway, when you pull into your garage, if you have to sit there for 5 minutes, or for 10 minutes, you can't bring what happened here through the door. Because when you get to the door, you are a daddy, you're a husband. You're not a football player.' It was hard to figure that out. The one thing now is trying to be present when I'm home and realizing that work is work."

Rev. Ken Watson on a parenting secret that he's learned

"For me, it was about modeling manhood. I made some errors. Part of my modeling, I think I kind of projected perfectionism and I didn't know it. I think one of the best things you can do for your sons or your daughters, is to allow them to see you to make a mistake. As a young father, my thing was, I'm gonna be the man I want my boys to be. So they never saw me cry, I never made a mistake, I never said anything that I shouldn't say, and I think what happened in Ben's life, he was the oldest, he became a perfectionist. I think part of it was he was trying to please his dad. So, it wasn't until about three or four years ago, we had a heart-to-heart talk about some of the mistakes that I had made in raising him."

Benjamin Watson, on being a person of integrity

"I had a football coach at the University of Georgia, Dave Johnson. We would come into our meetings in the tight end room and we had these little desks that kind of flipped over and it looked like wood. But some of our desks were peeling back a little bit because they were old. And I remember coach Johnson told one of us, 'hey, peel that back,' so we peeled it back and he goes, 'what kind of wood do you think it is?' And I go, 'I don't know what it is, oak? Cedar?' He's like, 'it's veneer. So peel it back some more.' Inside the desk there was this cork board material or cardboard, or something. But it just looked like wood on the outside.

"He said, 'I don't want you to be like these desks. I want you to grow up to be men of integrity. Men whose lives are integrated, where there is wholeness and it's not divided. You're not saying that you're one way here, and you do something like this over here. There is no conflict in what you say and what you do.' So, when it comes to speaking out on things and different cultural issues, that's always been my challenge."

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