This past weekend, ESPN ran a segment on Walk-Ons in college football. As usual, I got a bit emotional and proud hearing all these stories and watching the reaction. I'm surprised at the lack of shares/press this has gotten - perhaps it is not full of enough gossip or negativity. But these are the kinds of stories that help inspire young athletes to reach for something they are being told is out of their grasp. The truth is, it's not. It can and has been done. All the athlete has to do is be wiling to pay the price: and everyone's price is different. We all get taxed differently in life so stop complaining and either pay it, or stop complaining.
The Ten Expectations of a Walk-on Football Player
1. Expect it not to be that fun.
2. Expect coaches to not treat you well.
3. Expect scholarship players to not treat you well.
4. Expect a lot of hardship.
5. Expect to get no attention or care from anyone.
6. Expect to make the team, practice your balls off, fight and get playing time.
7. Expect to give everything and get very little in return.
8. Expect to be a starter.
9. Expect everyone to want you to fail.
10. Expect nothing to be given to you.
A true walk-on player (not someone who is on the verge of scholarship or invited walk-on) has to be able to shovel more shit than most people will ever deal with. This is because 99% of people don’t have passion and love for what they do, so whether they succeed or not (job, career, family, hobby) doesn’t make a difference to them. Sure they get mad and hate it, but they aren’t willing to die for anything. When I played football, I would have DIED to have played the game. I don’t know many people that, no matter their interest.
You can chalk that up to youthful ignorance or rage or whatever.
So enduring the endless battles, the humiliation, is pretty damn hard…but easier to swallow when you are willing to do whatever it takes. You gotta be like Kaizer Soze and do what the other guy won’t do. And the only reason/excuse for not playing is this: YOU.
If you endure, it will happen.