The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

    Reader Response: What is it like to play football

    Some people have the misconception that football players do not have feelings. They fail to believe that players play for the love of the game. Yes, football does give people opportunities in life that they might not receive if they do not play. However, these are only opportunities for them to make what they will of them. Football is a sport in which players have to practice hard in order to be prepared mentally and physically to play; even when they lose. It is also a sport that gives players and coaches only a few opportunities to perform. In football, coaches lose their jobs when players do not perform or when their team does not win games. Players play for self confidence and pride as a person but mostly as a team. Thus, football is a sport with so much riding on each game for the players and the coaches.
    Whether a team has a winning record or a losing record, they practice almost continuously year round. This forces them to dedicate their time to football, and, by so making the choice to play football, they do not get to spend time with their families or friends. That is only one of the many ways that a player cannot have a regular college life. When they lose, it causes more heartache on a player because they cannot go out or talk to friends or family without being asked questions about every play, past games and future games. The question may sound simple, but they are so hard to answer; although some critics think they know all of the answers.
    Most people do not have a clue of how hard the team works in the off-season to become more disciplined and prepared to play. Few people know that the whole football staff (which include players, coaches, trainers, managers and others) has to start at 5:45 a.m. for spring conditioning on Tuesday and Friday mornings after a losing record. If that is not enough, they all have to be there for practice in the fall for over a week before school starts. Those days usually start before 6 a.m. and end at 10 p.m., depending on the position of the player. During the summer, most of the players take summer school classes to help them get a degree, but more so they can work out with the team.
    Summer workouts consist of them working out twice a day Monday through Thursday and running starting at 6 a.m. Friday. During the season, players are required to lift weights Monday through Thursday mornings before the school day begins for average college students along with practicing in the afternoons. However, if they are privileged enough to make the travel squad of 70 people, they lift only twice a week. If you are a new walk-on or a freshman you have to work out at 6 a.m. for the fall and spring semesters, which is similar to summer.
    The practices in the season seem to be the hardest because if you are losing, everyone is usually down and upset. There are people quick to point the blame and make comments about the players and coaches or the program in general. This can cause a hostile environment for the whole football staff and cause the football players to begin to lose heart, which is what is claimed to be the major problem with the football team.
    A lot of people do not realize what it is like to be so overwhelmed by a desire to play all of these sacrifices are not even considered when the TEAM is winning. However, people tend to forget to focus on the players’ and coaches’ sacrifices even more if something happens to go wrong and the team gets caught in a losing slump. At this point comments like, “It’s embarrassing” and “It’s a shameful and outrageous disgrace” are made. Some people say that there is no discipline or heart and that the team does not play together. Whether winning or losing, negative comments do not help the football team as a whole to represent the university. The only way a player is recognized on the field is by his number and his family name. Some fans seem to think that knowing a player’s number and name means they really know the player and have the right to talk about him. When people talk about a player, they refer to him by his name, which represents his family from the past to the present and also to the future.
    So I, Gregory Jack, a walk-on senior football player, am offended when someone talks about my teammates and coaches. My dream was to play college football. I walked on despite what my friends and family said. Furthermore, I will continue to be happy to play the rest of my senior year whether we win or lose for the simple fact that I love the game and the opportunity it gives me to represent my Lord and my family.
    If any student thinks they have all the answers for what it takes to win, they can come and walk-on just the same as I have. I am not ashamed to be a Mississippi State University Bulldog whether winning or losing. Yes, winning means a lot to me, despite what others think, but the focus has to stay on loving the game of football.

    Leave a Comment
    More to Discover

    Comments (0)

    All The Reflector Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Activate Search
    The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University
    Reader Response: What is it like to play football