For the Love of the Game

I love Colgate football. I love everything about it – the traditions, the energy, the snowy games, the tailgates and all of the incredible memories it has given me. I love the stadium, the field, the coaches and trainers; but I especially admire the players.

As a senior who watched the team play its final game last weekend, I would like to say “Thank You” to all of the players who made the last four years so exciting. Above all, I want to extend my utmost respect and congratulations to the seniors, the winningest class in school history. Three rings in four years makes for a heavy hand, and if anybody deserves that much bling, it’s you guys.

My passion for football may be derived from the fact that my father played here. I grew up on Colgate football stories and have been running around the field since I was a baby. I’ve heard my share of injury reports and tales of legendary “miracle catches,” but only recently have I finally learned to appreciate the rich history behind this great program.

I consider myself very lucky to have been here during such an impressive streak of Patriot League titles, NCAA playoff games and a near-national championship win. I never missed a home game in four years, and I am already getting nostalgic for my Saturday morning routine of layering on Colgate gear to go cheer in the stands. Looking back, Colgate football has provided me with some of the best memories anyone could ever ask for.

Whether I was traveling to Florida during finals to watch the team beat Florida Atlantic University in 2003, or nearly having a heart attack during a fourth quarter clincher this Fall, I am so grateful for the fun and spirit ‘Gate football has instilled in me. I am even more thankful to the players who went out day after day to make all of this happen.

I am not sure everyone understands how difficult it is to play a sport here while simultaneously juggling school and extracurricular activities, let alone playing a sport where you consistently get beat up and pushed around everyday around 4 p.m. I’ve seen these guys out there on the hottest and coldest of days, taking hits, running sprints and practicing the same plays over and over and over again. They are resilient athletes with a lot of heart.

There are seniors who never saw playing time, who year after year were knocked down and got back up, knowing they’d never make it onto the field, but were determined to try their best nonetheless. These are the kids that inspire me. These players understand that depth charts and starting positions aren’t the most important aspects of the game. They became part of a team and remained loyal and determined to fight for four years.

Thank you also to the seniors who have led this team and who made every game worth watching. You set quite a standard for future teams to strive towards, and have truly left your mark in the record books. But more importantly, you accomplished so much with an overwhelming sense of modesty and appreciation.

To the captains who held this team together through thrilling wins and disappointing losses, you both deserve enormous congratulations. You played through heartbreak and criticism, yet kept your heads up and your goals in focus. The younger players are lucky to have had such great role models to learn from, and I hope they are able follow in your footsteps.

To all of the guys who I have come to know so well over the years, it was bittersweet to watch you walk off the field one last time. I know how hard it is to stop playing a sport that has consumed so many years of your life, but you should look back and be impressed with all that your team has accomplished.

Just think – no more morning lifts, no more UnderArmor for freezing practices, no more preseason workouts and a lot more Monday and Wednesday nights out! All of you guys have sacrificed so much for this game, and I am so proud of each of you. Now you get to enjoy college sans athletics, although I still expect a few visits to the erg room!

And to all Colgate students: please go out and support the team in coming seasons. I know I’ve previously written about our lack of fan attendance, but I really do mean it. At one point, I think I even begged people to fill the stands for intense league match-ups. I guarantee you’ll have fun, and I’m sure the guys out there playing will welcome the appreciation.

The spirit of ‘Gate football is contagious, and it is one thing I can assure you will not mind catching. I know I’ll be back for future games, and I can only hope that the players’ enthusiasm and talent match what this year’s seniors have shown throughout their careers.