Sunday, April 29, 2012

Role Models

     This past week I had an opportunity to go visit with kids at Cooper West Elementary School.  Seth Doege, DJ Johnson, and I went to wish the kids good luck on their STARR tests and sign autographs.  When we arrived there was an excitement about the staff and the kids that was very noticeable.  We were signed into the front office and then sent to their auditorium/cafeteria.  The kids, coming in the auditorium, were wide eyed and excited to see us.  One kid was even wearing Seth's jersey.  When all the kids were there, I was given a microphone with no instruction on what to say... maybe I should have thought of this before.  Well I struggled through a welcome speech with a little raider power chant and encouragement to do well in school.  Then I handed the microphone to the more experienced social speaker Seth.  Seth and DJ both took their turn thanking them for having us and giving them encouragement, then it was on to the autographs!  After we got to take pictures with the classes of students and teachers, and also have a question and answer with the students.  They asked us things like: what job do you want, what was your best game, and what made you choose Texas Tech?  It was very impressive to see how much they knew about us and how great of fans they were.  It was a fun experience that we get a lot of chances to do in the community, and I love it every time.

     As we were driving home, we started talking about how those kids used to be us.  It's crazy to think that back in the day we were in their shoes and looked up to football players.  I remember when I was growing up always mimicking my favorite football players and keeping up with them any way I could.  Football players were my role models and I dreamed of being a Stephenville Yellow Jacket one day.  Whether we like it or not, us football players are role models for kids and even our peers.  They look at everything we do and everything we say, and with internet today that is easier than ever.  All you have to do is get on Facebook or Twitter and see inside what we are doing and saying.  What we put out on the internet and what we do when others are around effects our image and also effects the kids who see it.  If we do it, then it must be right and the cool thing to do.  Therefore, we have an obligation to set a good example and do right because the whole world is watching!  Some players don't understand this and the stuff they put on the internet is terrible.  This not only gives us a bad image and a bad example, but also possibly jeopardizing future employment.  With the internet, once it's out's out there.  Any bad stuff you do will end up on your future employers desk.  This is why I strive to not only be a good person, but also to be a good role model.  I invest in my future, and try and leave my mark by the things that I do and accomplish.  There is only one way to do this, "Don't talk about it, BE about it."  I believe when you strive to be great in everything that you do... the goals and dreams will take care of themselves.

-Student of the Game

Matthew 5:14-16 
“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."

Friday, April 20, 2012

Changing of the Seasons

     As the weather begins to warm up and the flowers start to bloom there is a new season upon us... OFF-SEASON! We have officially expired all of our practices, film sessions, and drills for spring ball.  Now we move on to the off season workouts and self preparation of drills and film study.  This is one of the most physically challenging times in the whole year.  Workouts during spring ball were hard, but they wanted to save our energy for practice.  This is no longer the case! Now they have an hour and a half to work us out as hard as they can, and mentally and physically push us to the edge.

     We started off season right after spring ball and we have been in it a few weeks now.  If you ever drive by the football facility you might see us pushing big wooden sleds for one hundred yard sprints, or pushing two by fours on the ground for thirty reps of twenty five yards, or even walking the stadium stairs for twenty reps with eighty pound vests on...  This is just a taste of what we do outside, and then we go in and lift right after these outside activities! It is definitely an everyday challenge that will bring us closer together as a team as we struggle and grind through these times together.  This time period is also huge for self development.  The harder you go during organized workouts and the more extra work you put in is how much better you will get.  Player organized drills and film sessions keep our memory and skills tuned with what we learned in spring ball.  There is not much off time as a college football player, and every day counts.  Each day you are either getting better or getting worse... The choice is yours.  It's all about what kind of attitude you take to work when you get up and look yourself in the mirror.  I am pushing myself to dominate every workout, every set, and every rep.  This will open the gate to me being a better leader and setting a good example.  But when it comes down to it, off-season is a battle against yourself...pushing yourself past the point where you think you have nothing left and not giving in.  This off-season will challenge our mind and body in order to be ready for the season... this is a necessary step for where we want to go as a team...

-Student of the Game

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tornado Relief Effort

     I didn't know what to expect when we set out to provide tornado relief in Lancaster, TX... All i knew is that I wanted to help.  Texas Tech athletics and the Lubbock community came together with an effort to provide supplies and volunteers to aid in the recovery.  Lubbock provided two eighteen wheelers full of food, water, dog food, cleaning supplies, etc.  This added up to 70,000 pounds of supplies that needed to be taken to the families in need.  That is where we came in!

     My teammates and I started our Saturday waking up at 5:30am.  I packed my bag and got on the bus to head out.  We had around 30 athletes on the bus as well as some coaches and media personnel.  We set off along with the two supply trucks at 6am headed to Lancaster.  We made a quick pit stop by the Slaton Bakery where we received our own care package of delicious donuts!  After a lot of uncomfortable bus sleeping and snoring battles, we had made it to Lancaster. We threw down some pizza on the bus real fast for lunch and headed to Lancaster High School where they have been receiving supplies.  When we got there they had enough immediate supplies at that current location, but quickly directed us to a nearby warehouse where they would store and later distribute the supplies.

     The trucks pulled up to the warehouse, the bus was unloaded, and the work began! The mountain of supplies in the trucks were slowly picked away by us and supply lines were quickly formed. Big heavy packages of water, food, and other supplies were being tossed along the lines... and it quickly turned into a competition like it always does between us players.  We had two different lines feeding supplies out of the truck and each was trying to be the fastest. This became a workout as the supplies seemed to be endless and the packages being thrown and unloaded faster and faster.  Everyone made a big deal if someone dropped something, and a couple of waters and a broken bag of dog food inevitably ended up on the floor. After being tired and drenched with sweat, we had finally completed one truck! As we took a break, the mayor of Lancaster thanked us for our effort and supplies. We aren't here for the thank yous, but it does feel good to know that what you are doing is helping someone in need.  Next, we tackled the second truck and unloaded all the supplies into the warehouse.  It was a very good experience to see all the volunteers, firemen, red cross, players, coaches, and other Tech members all working together to get this accomplished. Moving 70,000 pounds of supplies from Lubbock to Lancaster is no easy task...but we did it!

     We then went to help clean up at the worst hit part of town.  We helped for the rest of our time there moving debris from around the house of a resident to the front of the yard to be picked up on Monday.  Seeing the damage to the area made it real, but seeing the people and families who were affected by this tornado up close made it even more personal and touching.  One resident was just sitting in his damaged car in front of what used to be his home just staring at it.  Another family was sitting under their porch which was the only part that remained standing of their whole house.  I couldn't even begin to imagine how their lives have been torn apart and now they are just left with scattered memories of the remains of their house that they have to try and put back together.  This experience has definitely made me thankful for everything I have and I thank God for all of my blessings.  I'm proud of Lubbock and Texas Tech for stepping up and taking action.  Thanks for all of the supplies and support that have gone out to Lancaster, and keep the affected families in your prayers!

-Student of the Game

Pictures I took...Slideshow: (click here for full-screen)

Videos from YouTube: