THERE'S a well known routine that accompanies getting drafted into a North American professional sports league.
You sit in some large auditorium or arena with your family, sweating out the rounds and picks that go by until finally your name is called. You walk up on stage, shake the hand of your new boss and put on either a hat over top of your finely styled hair or a jersey over your expensive dress shirt.
None of those things happened when North Vancouver's Bo Palmer was picked in last week's CFL Canadian entry draft, 33rd overall by the Hamilton TigerCats. He was in a hotel room in Mexico with a group of friends, trying to relax on a vacation that had been booked and paid for before the draft date was announced.
On the big day, Palmer plopped down in front of his laptop with three windows open on his computer screen: a draft tracker that posted picks as soon as they were made, a "live" video feed on TSN's website that was actually about one minute behind the draft tracker, and a video chat window with his mother and sister back home. Palmer tried to concentrate on the draft's video feed but couldn't resist checking the tracker as each new name appeared.
Finally, in the fifth round, his name popped up. Well, sort of his name.
Simon Fraser slotback Daronn Palmer was the name that appeared. Deronn Bo Palmer is the 22-year-old's full name but he has always gone by Bo.
"They spelled it wrong and they used the wrong name," said Palmer with a laugh. "I think that confused a lot of people. When I saw it on the ticker I had to just look at it for a second to make sure that was me."
When the live video feed caught up, the TSN analysts had a chuckle too, noting also that Palmer was listed as a slotback despite switching to running back after his first season at SFU. All the confusion originated with some paperwork dating back to Palmer's first year at SFU. Once his identity was confirmed, Palmer and his family shared an intense Internet celebration.
"Very modern - thank god for WiFi," Palmer said about his draft day experience. "I incurred quite a few charges from people calling me and texting me afterwards but I think, given the situation, it was well worth it."
It was a happy ending for a player who had no idea when or if he would get drafted. SFU plays in the NCAA's Great Northwest Athletic Conference and American college rules prohibit contact between professional teams and players. As a redshirt junior - he sat out his first year at SFU - Palmer had played enough years to become eligible for the CFL draft but because he intends to return for his senior season at SFU he could not speak to any pro teams to find out who was interested in him.
"I didn't know a whole lot," he said.
"All I knew is that some teams had come to our games throughout the season, our homes games, and also some teams had come to watch our spring scrimmage. Still, everything was up in the air. I had no idea if teams were looking at me specifically or not."
Whether scouts were there to see Palmer or not was irrelevant - his performance last season was impossible to ignore. The Windsor secondary grad racked up 1,219 rushing yards, breaking the school record for a single season that was set by fellow Windsor grad Mike Vilimek, a 2002 draft pick of the Ottawa Renegades. Palmer also lead the Clan with a 5.6 yards-per-carry average and tied for the team lead with eight touchdowns, earning a spot on the Great Northwestern Athletic Conference all-conference team. He was voted SFU's offensive most valuable player by his teammates after the 2011 season.
"Good speed, nice cuts - just a very good running back in a pretty solid league," was Tiger-Cats head coach George Cortez's assessment of Palmer when speaking to the Hamilton Spectator last week.
The Tiger-Cats like Palmer enough that they're willing to wait a year to get his services - NCAA rules prohibit him from even showing up for CFL training camp. Palmer said despite the wait - and despite his lack of knowledge about his future home - he's still pumped up about joining the Ticats.
"I've never been to Hamilton, I really don't know a whole lot about the city," he said. "I was just really excited (when they drafted me), I'm looking forward to joining them after next year."
When he does join the team he'll have a tough task on his hands - making an impact as a Canadian player in a skill position. Palmer was the only tailback, along with one fullback, drafted this year. Positions such as quarterback and running back are normally reserved for American imports in the CFL but a new wave of homegrown runners has given Palmer hope.
"There are guys who are sort of breaking through that glass ceiling right now, such as Andrew Harris from the Lions and Jon Cornish from the Calgary Stampeders - Canadian-born talent that grew up playing in Canada. I think that ceiling might be broken soon, it's just a matter of getting those skill positions on the radar. I was very fortunate to get picked up as a junior running back."
Harris rushed for 65 yards and scored a touchdown in the Grey Cup to earn the game's Most Valuable Canadian award while Cornish led his team in rushing in 2011 despite not making his first start until week 13. Cornish tied for the league lead in total touchdowns and was nominated for the regular season's Most Outstanding Canadian Award.
For Palmer, however, that task will have to wait. For one more year his attention is on helping the SFU Clan win games.
"It's obviously a lot to focus on knowing that I'm going to be playing with the Tiger-Cats next year but the main focus is what I'm going to be doing know and that's preparing for my final season with the Clan," he said. "I've been playing with them for four years now so they are my team, they are my home. I just sort of have to put the CFL thoughts aside while I'm playing for SFU. I'm just going to play in the moment and each team that we play and just basically try to have a better season and better record then we did last year, which I definitely think we're going to have."
He'll also be finishing off his degree at SFU, majoring in communications with a minor in criminology. While football is a passion now, there's another career path he's been working towards for a long time - he wants to be a cop. Woe be to the criminal who tries to run away from speedy Bo Palmer.
"I wouldn't mind chasing someone down," he said with a laugh. "I know a career in the CFL isn't something that lasts forever."