I just thought I'd share some of the experiences I've had being a division-one college football player. A lot of my friends back home don't think of my football career at SUU as big of a deal because I don't go to the big schools like UNLV, USC, or Texas. Just because I never show up on TV (well, in Cedar City we do. SU-TV! haha) people back home don't look at me like a real college football player. I love it! It helps me take more pride in what I have here at SUU. I don't care what anyone says; I am a college football player. Something I have always dreamed about.
There aren't a lot of differences between us and the other "big" schools across the country. We don't have a lot of fans, but the ones that we do have still look at us like movie stars. I was able to go visit an Elementary School in Cedar City. There was a class that donated the most amount of cans in their entire school for a food drive that was put on by the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), and as their reward, they won a pizza party and a visit from two SUU athletes. I had no idea what I was going to encounter until I got there. When I walked in, the kids instantly sat straight up, and moved their keesters to the edge of their chairs. I even saw one student with a camera filming me. I was just as excited as the kids were. We introduced ourselves, signed autographs, and answered questions. We let every kid ask one question and there was one student in the back with a byu football shirt. I made sure he was last. The teacher finally told me, "The young man in the back hasn't asked his question." I picked him, knowing exactly what he would ask. When he stood up he spitted out, "Hey, do you like my shirt?" I didn't even say a word, I just shook my finger from side to side and motioned him to sit down.
It was a great experience to see how much these students adored a college football player. We later ran outside and threw the football for 10 minutes where I taught them some routes and had a great time. I wound up seeing one of the students at Chili's with his parents and he was so pumped to see me. His parents told me that all he had been talking about for that day was my visit to his class.
Another experience is something I know I will never forget. It was my first ever college football game. We played against the University of Wyoming. It all started with our plane ride. As we took off, an engine blew out and we nearly lost control. A teammate of mine sitting next to me, squeezed my hand and I watched him almost cry as we swerved to safety. I was already nervous for my first game ever, but after two hours of waiting for another plane, we departed.
When we pulled into the stadium the following day, I saw thousands of fans tailgating, children throwing footballs, and vendors selling all sorts of disgusting food. I remember being that kid throwing a ball before a UNLV game. I remember tailgating at a USC game before the Rose Bowl and eating that disgusting food. It was something I'll never forget.
Now, this game at Wyoming, is still the only game I haven't played in. I sat on the sidelines the entire time and loved every minute of it. When we ran out of the tunnel and I saw the huge stadium filled with fans that weren't even ours, give me chills only Eskimos can relate to. I could have ran for hours with the adrenaline I had. We had a section of maybe 40 fans that screamed as loud as I did. We wound up losing the game 28-20, but I won an experience that is distilled in my memory forever.
I could write all day about the neat experiences I've been privileged to have by being a college football player. It's one of the most rewarding things I've ever had in my life and I'm so thankful for my family. They have helped me out when I wanted to throw in the towel years ago. They enjoy my career as much as I do because they can share these experiences with me.