The easiest realization I have reached thus far in college is as follows: no NFL teams have demonstrated interest and I will not be leaving college after 3 years to play professional football (I will be sure to check back in after 4).
With my height at a (tall) 5’7″ and no significant growth spurt predicted in my near future, my once frivolous dream of playing football on Sundays instead of Fridays or Saturdays has – only now – come crashing down. (My lack of ability in relation to the average NFL player is in no way related to my realization that I will not be an NFL player).
Even faced with this debilitating realization (kidding), I honestly cannot imagine my college experience thus far without having been a part of the athletic community at WashU. First and foremost, the WashU Varsity Football team has provided me with the opportunity to continue playing the sport (cheer from the sidelines) I love at an incredibly high level. While athletics was not the defining factor by which I chose to attend WashU, I like to think of it as the ‘cherry on top’ which completes what I was looking for from my individualized college experience. The team’s recent success since I have been a member (3 conference championships, 1 NCAA playoff appearance) has been incredible to be a part of, but more importantly the team has provided me with the opportunity to continue my athletic pursuits (at the very least the workouts and practices have helped keep the freshman 15 at bay).
What I appreciate most from my athletic experience, however, is neither the success the team has had on the field nor my own athletic pursuits and accomplishments. There is something to be said about moving to college and being immediately welcomed by almost 100 other student-athletes who instantaneously become your friends. The 3+ hours per day I spend with my teammates have arguably been the most valuable experiences I have gained from my involvement in athletics. In college we are expected to learn from our professors, and while this is true I have equally learned from all of my teammates who represent an incredibly diverse array of backgrounds and ideologies in which we all come together united by one organization for one purpose: to win a National Championship.
Extending further from the microcosm that is the football team, the athletic community at WashU as a whole has been an incredibly welcoming environment that has made me feel at home at WashU. Just this past week alone I have worked out with women on our soccer and volleyball teams and hung out at the pool with some of our baseball and basketball players (all of whom have better chances to go pro than myself but I digress). It is incredibly rewarding to see my fellow athletes cheer for, and support the football team, while we return the favour with equal fervor. (Side note: I include the letter ‘u’ in certain words because it is ~edgy~ and represents my Canadian heritage).
It is incredibly sad that you, the reader, will not be able to follow my athletic journey after the upcoming 2 years have come and gone. But I promise that whether it be on the bench for WashU Varsity Football team, in the stands for any other WashU sports teams, or if we bump into each other at a professional sporting event, you will hear me cheer.
P.S. I will be scheduling my Pro Day soon and while my coaches cannot promise that any NFL scouts will be in attendance, I invite you all to witness my display of athletic excellence.