COBBER INK TALES
Welcome to the newest Cobber Sports Information feature. Cobber Ink Tales is meant to highlight the individuality and personality behind Concordia student/athletes. Tattoos have become a way for people to provide permanent memories, motivation and remembrances of loved ones. This feature series will attempt to show another side of Cobber student/athletes – a side that family, fans and alumni rarely get a chance to see. We hope you enjoy this new feature.
Do you know a Cobber athlete, former Cobber athlete or Concordia professor or administrator that has a meaningful tattoo and would like to share the story behind it? Please contact CobberSID at email@example.com so we can share their story.
COBBER INK TALES: Daughter and Mother - Autumn and Jenn Thompson
Feature written by Concordia sports information student assistant David Youngs
MOORHEAD, Minn. --- It was an ordinary, crisp afternoon in January for women’s Cobber guard Autumn Thompson. With a game that night, the then-freshman was sitting in class when she received an unexpected text from her mother Jenn.
“Hey, you should come meet me,” the text read - and was followed up with her mother’s location.
“I had no idea where she was,” Autumn recalled. “I knew she would be coming into town that night for our game, but this was early afternoon. I figured (the location) would be a place for us to grab coffee or lunch.”
The location was indeed a shop, but not the type that Autumn would have ever imagined.
The location on her phone took her to downtown Fargo. The destination? 46 and 2 Tattoo, where Jenn had made her tattoo debut, getting one inked on her forearm.
Autumn’s mom’s new ink was a tribute to the iconic words from Psalm 46:10: “Be still and know that I am God.”
This was no ordinary tattoo though. Jenn’s ink was a replica of the words imprinted on Autumn’s side from a tattoo she got following her senior year of high school.
The only difference between the two tattoos? Jenn’s tattoo is etched in her daughters handwriting and Autumn’s tattoo is inked in her mother’s handwriting.
The interchangeable ink is just the tip of the iceberg of the bond that the mother and daughter share.
A Long Time Coming
Getting a tattoo was something that Autumn always wished for while she was growing up in the small northern Minnesota town of Argyle.
“My dad has tattoos, so growing up I always wanted to get a tattoo once I turned 18,” Autumn said.
When that time came in the summer after her senior year of high school, Autumn’s mother wasn’t quite sold on the idea. This prompted Autumn to come forth with a proposal that her mother couldn’t pass up.
“When I was 18 my mom was a little hesitant of me getting one,” Autumn said. “I gave her an idea of ‘what if it’s in your handwriting’ and she was like ‘ah, then it's okay.’”
Going forth the two worked together to decide on what Autumn’s ink would read. In the end, the final decision was a favorite bible verse for both mother and daughter.
“It’s (the verse) kind of all over our house, I have it (the verse) on the cross in our windowsill, it's in the living room, it's on the staircase going downstairs,” Jenn said. “It’s been a bible verse that’s always brought me peace as a mom growing up, ‘just be calm, God’s got you, (and) your kids.’”
After they decided on the verse, the two both wrote the passage on different sheets of paper. The paper with Jenn’s handwriting would be used as a template for Autumn’s tattoo.
Autumn had no idea that her Mom had saved the sheet with Autumn’s handwriting of the passage, and one day that would eventually serve as the template to complete the matching tattoos.
When the finishing touch to the two tattoos came to a completion that afternoon in January, it was a complete surprise to Autumn.
“It was really cool,” said Autumn. “She's talked about getting a tattoo forever, so I feel lucky that I got to be a part of the first one,” Autumn said.
“She’s My Best Friend”
The tattoo represents more than just a shared love for a particular bible verse. It represents the strong relationship that the mother and daughter share.
“It’s almost a friendship, my mom is my best friend,” Autumn said.
The two share more in common than just a tattoo. Autumn is an Elementary Education major, following in the footsteps of her mother, who teaches preschool.
“My senior year of high school I would spend a lot of time in her classroom,” Autumn said. “On the last day of my senior year I was like, ‘I’m going to be an Elementary Education major.’ I'm going to be a teacher like my mom.”
Basketball has also been a common unifier for Autumn, her mother, and the rest of the family. Her two younger siblings play the game and her dad Nic coached her throughout her childhood. He also officiates NCAA Division II and Division III games in Minnesota.
“That's one part of her life that she's going to follow in his footsteps,” Jenn said. “It is the love of the game, as either a coach or an official or both.”
When it comes to Autumn’s games at Concordia there’s no bigger superfan than Jenn.
“She never misses a game,” Autumn said. “I think my teammates can say the same. “Last Wednesday (in the middle of January) was the first game that she missed. My teammates were like ‘where’s your mom!?’”
Autumn appreciates all the miles that Jenn logs to attend her games. It's just one of the things that she admires about her mother.
“She's taught me a lot of the lessons through the years, but one of the biggest things is that she never wants me to wish away the time I’m in right now,” Autumn said. “That has been a big impact in my life.”
As she continues her collegiate journey, and ventures into the real world, Autumn looks forward to continuing to learn from her mom.
“My future career is her career right now, so I’ll continue to learn from her,” Autumn said. “I hope that one day I can be the teacher she is.”
Watching Her Grow
When Jenn looks down at her tattoo, she is reminded of two things that she holds close to her heart: her daughter and their shared faith.
“For me, it represents our bond to each other and to our faith,” Jenn said.
It's a bond that Jenn could not be prouder of as she has watched her daughter grow over the years.
“It's been really rewarding to watch her find herself through the years,” Jenn said. “She's everything you’d want your kid to be. She’s hardworking, she's humble, she's kind, she's devoted and loyal to her team, her friends and her family.”
Thompson had a stellar sophomore season for the Cobbers, earning MIAC All-Conference honors and leading the team in 3-point shooting. And while her parents are proud of her accomplishments on the court, they were extremely impressed by the maturity that their daughter showed when choosing Concordia.
“I was always really proud that she stayed true to herself and chose the school that she liked the best,” Jenn said. “And of course, we’re proud of her and her basketball, but we’re just proud that she's always been true to her heart and found a home here at Concordia.”
Psalm 46 will forever be a part of the relationship that Autumn and her mother Jenn share. The strong message is etched forever in ink in the tattoos but it means even more in the very special bond between mother and daughter.
“As a mom you work so hard and put so much into your kids,“ Jenn said. “So much of what they look like when they were little changes as they grow. That’s (the tattoo) going to be a part of her no matter how her body changes through the years and it's just always going to be a part of me that's with her.”