Dear Football Mom,
Can you tell me why the college players bust their tails to make it to playoff games? I did some looking and found they don’t get paid the big bucks like the pros do. In fact, they don’t get paid at all. What they do get is a ring they can wear and a trophy that goes to their school and yeah, bragging rights that only last until next year. Why would anybody in their right mind (and these players are still kids, mind you) break all sorts of bones, put their bodies through torture, sustain injury after injury (which can affect them the rest of their lives) just to have a shot at the National Championship? That is pure crazy!
Crazy or not, this is the stuff kids playing college football dream of. My sweet darlings, life itself is chance—why not, make it significate? I mean, if ya gonna break something, like records or bones, then by golly, make it count!
I almost passed on this question. I thought you were joking. Then I realized if you feel this way and you are reading my column, then by garsh darn, I have an obligation to answer, and maybe you’re not joking. Our column has a wide range of readers and not all are football fans, but most all are parents. Maybe there are others who have these same questions and feel the way you do.
If I had to guess, you are probably an E.R. nurse or perhaps in the healthcare field in some capacity and have treated your fair share of football-related injuries. Maybe you are a mom of an injured player. Either way, surely you cannot be, must have never been, a football fan. But since I have encouraged y’all to ask me anything, it’s only right that I tackle this question best I can.
There is an intangible element to this football gig thang. It’s in the heart of every player who gives a rip about his team, and I’m not so sure it can be fully explained. I think it must be something like our military men and women have deep within their souls. To be part of something larger than yourself requires selfless acts of sacrifice, tireless hours of commitment, and of course, the never-ending exhaustion of determination, and that’s what football players do. They sacrifice themselves for their teams.
Thinking little or nothing of yourself leads to great and powerful stuff when applied with an unshaken, outrageous confidence football related or not. Not a cocky attitude, but a quiet grace. Just like our troops going into battle for our country with an orchestrated plan of attack and poise.
Some will argue that it is the historical tradition of certain colleges that drives players to greatness and winning seasons. Or that new head coach just hired has all the marbles lined up just right. But trust me, it goes so much deeper than that.
Put all the blabbing, the cheering, the pompous bloviating of the faithful fans and boosters together, and a body can even throw money at a program to boot. Add it all together, it still wouldn’t define or give players that intangible desire to compete regardless of the price they pay on the wear and tear of their bodies. They ignore pain and push beyond any ordinary limits. And that right there, produces extraordinary accomplishments. But of course, it goes further than that.
They bust their tails because they don’t get paid. College players do it purely because of their love for the game. The intangible, which clearly can’t be fully defined, defines the rise of those who play like legends!