16 juin 2024

Acklin sent son baby bump dans sa troisième saison avec le ROUGE ET NOIR

A new Offensive Coordinator, new teammates, and new hope are more than enough to generate excitement in the Ottawa REDBLACKS’ locker room, but for Jaelon Acklin, it doesn’t come close to topping the list.

On May 3rd, at 5:19 a.m., Acklin and his girlfriend Aynsley welcomed their daughter, Poppy Marie Acklin, to the world. The pair spent roughly 30 hours in the hospital together, despite a short delivery process, which Acklin says was well worth it.

Weighing in at roughly seven pounds, coincidentally the same as her father at the time of his birth a little over 28 years ago, Acklin says he’ll never forget the hours leading up to his daughters birth, or those first few moments as a father.

“It was the coolest experience of my life,” he said. “Seeing her so small, and seeing her being held by Aynsley [was amazing].”

Acklin met Aynsley about a year and half ago when the REDBLACKS traveled to Hamilton, and had a team dinner at Moxies, where she was a server. The Mountain View, Missouri native struck up a conversation, and left her with his phone number and a note to watch the game later that weekend.

He jokes that his performance wasn’t the best, and he was surprised to see a text from Aysnley following the game, but now, their happenstance meeting has allowed Acklin to accomplish one of his biggest missions in life.

“I’ve always wanted to be a father, that’s the number one thing I’ve always wanted to be,” Acklin said. “It’s way more important than being a football player, even though I still love football.”

With a newborn clarifying his vision, Acklin has thought back to his childhood, growing up with a single mother, who he admits to testing every day. He and his brothers routinely wrestled one another, and even had their own character names – Acklin was “Warrior.”

Despite his shenanigans, his mother always managed to keep him on the straight and narrow. Parenting a young Acklin was often described as “tougher than woodpecker lips,” he says, leaving him hopeful Poppy takes after her mother’s demeanor.

Only a matter of days separated Poppy’s birth and the start of REDBLACKS’ training camp, forcing Acklin to leave his daughter and Aynsley back in Stoney Creek, and pack his bags for his third season in the nation’s capital.

“It’s stressful,” Acklin said. “When I left, I bawled my eyes out, but we knew coming in that I was going to have to do that. It gives me a ‘why,’ and that’s something I look for. I make time to FaceTime Aynsley every day and talk to her. This is the most responsibility I’ve ever had, and it has been good for me to have a reason to do all of this.”

As often as possible, the new parents have talked and shared life updates, both about the baby and football, as they count down the days that they move into their new place in Ottawa at the conclusion of training camp.

On the field, Acklin has settled back into his routine with Tommy Condell at the controls of the offence, and with his new signal caller, Dru Brown. Together, they have been learning and building each day, and finding success, which Acklin credits partly to the baby bump phenomenon, where athletes play better in the months following the birth of a child.

As Poppy passes the one month milestone, Acklin already holds an unconditional love which will never be erased. Soon, he plans to add a new tattoo to his collection, signifying his new responsibilities, and his love for his adorable daughter.

“It won’t be very long,” Acklin said. “It’s probably going to be the second bye week. We’ve only got three days off for Week 1, and I’ve got to let it heal a little bit before getting back to practice, but it will be soon.”