Football and its Translation to my Academics
Born in Kenya, I did not have many choices when it came to a sport that I can play. I resulted to play soccer which was then called football and still called football. Most of my time was used to get better in my craft and I spent the early years of my life playing football. However, this is not the football that I will be touching on in this blog. I will be talking about American football. The sport that was foreign to me and many other Kenyans.
I stepped into the American diaspora with an open yet closed mindset. That is a contradictory statement but let me explain. I was not used to the culture here in America, Minnesota. I was not open to change my ways, but I liked the kindness of the people around me. I was open to new ideas and sports that my friends were showing me. Basketball and football became my focal points. I would play it all the time during recess and my free time. I became okay at it and I began to play organized sports in elementary school. I enjoyed the process of playing sports. It was a time where I could express myself and have fun with my friends. I learned the importance of teamwork and selflessness. I stopped playing organized sports for a while and picked it back up in high school. This is the time where football began to challenge me in the right ways and shape me as a person.
Through handwork and dedication to my craft, I worked myself to varsity. This is where I had to become a leader and learn from others. It was a truly humbling experience. My faith was tested daily. I wanted to be different from peers in a good way and show them an example that they could look up too. As the days of my football career were numbered, I was eagerly looking for a college where I could flourish not only as a player but as an individual. It was brought to my attention that Bethel University was looking for someone to add into their roster. I was first hesitant because I was not looking into a private school especially one that is close to home. But upon further consideration and prayer I was able to come to a decision and enroll myself into the Bethel University program.
My earlier days at the University were miserable to say the least. This was the time where I reported to the football camp. I barely had friends and being one of the few Africans in the team, I felt out of place. Living at Nelson Hall did not make matters any better. There was no air conditioning and I was by myself in a room of six. The lonely nights were unbearable, and I felt as if I should go home. But I began to see light at the end of the tunnel. I was welcomed with open arms from the Juniors and Seniors of the team. They took me under their wings and treated me as if we knew each other for years. I loved the genuine nature they bestowed and furthermore they made my transition into college smoother than expected. Love and family were in the forefront of the football team and it was something I never experienced before.
During my first year of football, the coaches instilled work ethic in me. They made sure that I was doing my workouts and giving my all on the field. The coaches held me accountable and that formed me into a great student outside the field. I began to apply the principles I learned from my high school career and college. Patience, resilience, perseverance, handwork, humility, and selflessness are some of the few things that I applied into my academics. I began to work hard in school and my grades began to skyrocket. There was nothing too big to me and I felt I could tackle anything, literally and figuratively.
Life after football changed me for the better. I only played for two short years but during that time I learned more about myself and the people around me. I learned that I needed to dig deep in everything and to bring “good juice”, as Coach Steve Johnson would say, in all circumstances. It has played a critical role as to how I view life today. That chapter is closed but the importance of that chapter has spewed into other chapters of my book. It has taught me to be a better Christian and that has translated into my academics and other parts of my life.