"I'm a high school player. I'm a team player. I play with my friends and with some of my enemies, but I respect everyone when it comes to my sport. I know I'm not going to get a multi-million dollar contract to play professionally. I know I may not even get my name in the paper. I play for the love of the game. For the pride and honor, for the blood, sweat and tears it takes to make the team, to earn the spot to win the game. I play because I can, I play because I know that my life would be empty without the sport I play. I would have a lack of everything my sport gives me...integrity, courage, talent, fearlessness, pride, strength, stamina, will and the heart of a champion. If I didn't play, I would lose a part of me. I'm an athlete.....I'm a champion, not because my team always wins, but because when we don't, we learn from our mistakes and we try to fix them, and most of all because we have fun. I have built lifelong friendships and memories because of my being an athlete. I leave everything on the field or court and continue to push myself. I am never happy with second place, but I have learned to accept it. I have learned to get over and through my anger and be the athlete and player I have always dreamed of being. I don't play for my parents, for my family, for my friends; I represent them. It isn't about winning or losing, but I hate to lose. I won't settle for a tie, and I am not satisfied with 100%. To play, you have to sacrifice everything...your body, your time, your sweat, blood and tears...everything...for your team. I am a player and an athlete and a champion, not because I know what it is like to win, but because I know what it is like to lose. I know what it is like to feel the anger and pain that comes along with "second best". I have been that player with tears in their eyes, walking out to receive the second place trophy and clapping as the other team, my opponents, receive the first place one. I know what it is like to lose, to win, to want to quit, to want to cry, to not want to get up. I know what it is like to hear the cheers and yells for you. I know what it is like to feel the pressure of everyone on your shoulders, and I know what it is like to choke under that pressure. I know what it means to be an athlete, a true player, and that is why I play. I AM AN ATHLETE, A CHAMPION, A TRUE PLAYER."~ "An Athlete's Pride" ~ Unknown Author
As another summer sun beats down on Georgia's red clay and the days melt away in the sweltering heat of it's overbearing presence, we meander towards another college football season like that ole lazy river that doesn't mind the hands of the clock. At times it feels like we will never get back to Saturdays in the South "between the hedges". This summer haze is the reality of the fan. But there are those that have no time. As anxious and as excited as they are, the bright lights of game day will be here before they know it and they can never be ready enough. This is the reality of the athlete...of the player...that hopes to be a champion. The seconds on the clock wind down, pounding like a hammer. Although they will never cheat time, the player toils anonymously in the race to be ready. There are no cheers. There is no victory. Just a solitary silence that is only broken by the echo of effort spent in competition against oneself. This is where champions are made.
We, the DAWG Nation, will see you soon, boys.