The date October 19, 2016 has been scrawled across almost every spare piece of Ed Gainey’s equipment this year.
It was scheduled to be the most exciting day of his life, though Grayson Jagger Gainey decided Wednesday would not be the day he’d enter the world.
Gainey and his girlfriend Lashawndriea Cole are expecting their first child any day now. In fact, Gainey spent the better part of two days on six different planes getting home to Winston-Salem North Carolina on his days off – then back to Regina in time for Wednesday’s practice.
Cole was supposed to be induced on Monday while Gainey was there but the doctor’s decided against it.
“He’s being real stubborn right now they said he’s in there sucking his thumb and all that,” Gainey said after Wednesday’s practice.
He gushed about his future son to everyone who’d listen, showing off the due date written on his towel. The due date has also made appearance on his gloves and his spat (ankle tape) “just to remind me it’s bigger than me,” he said.
It’s easy to tell 26-year-old Gainey is excited – and nervous – to be a dad for the first time. It’s also easy to tell he’s very conflicted about being Regina with the team and not home in North Carolina awaiting his son’s birth.
“I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place,” he sighed.
“At the end of the day I got to feed my family. I got to do what I have to do to make my money,” Gainey continued, pausing to find the right words at times. “I don’t know. It’s just like it’s a big year for me and I just want to make sure that I close the season out and the whole year has pretty much be dedicated to him so, I’m pretty sure he’ll understand.”
Especially, he hopes, when Grayson sees all the little mementos of him his dad kept with him.
“When I made that play against (Edmonton’s Adarius) Bowman … they took a picture of me when I was running in the end zone that his due date was right there on my spat so I just hope he understands when he sees that and he’s old enough to understand it.”
Fortunately for Gainey and Cole, they have a lot of family support. Gainey said his mom will be in the delivery room with his girlfriend alongside her own mother and they’ll be taping it for him so he can watch it later – just like there will be plenty of film for Grayson to watch of his daddy later on.
And his dad will also be able to tell him the impact he made before he was even born, providing the motivation Gainey needed to have his best year to date. A year marked with 41 defensive tackles, two interceptions, two forced fumbles and a touchdown with three more games still left to go.
“When (Lashawndriea) told me she was pregnant I felt like it was kind of like a reboot for me because I was kind of down … then when he came he kind of like overflowed, filled the cup over and he’s really been my driving force all year and I’ve just been keeping him on my mind,” Gainey said.
And once this season is concluded he hopes he’ll never have to be away from his son again. He’ll be moving his family up to Regina for the start of next season.
“I’m just blessed to be in this situation, having a seed, and being able to play,” Gainey said. “You never really expect to be a parent … but like, my biggest thing is I’m just happy he’ll be here and … God willing, that I’ll be able to play next year and he’ll be able to see it growing up.”