How were you involved on campus: Varsity Football
Current Location: Los Angeles, CA
Job Title and Company/Organization: Client Partner, Facebook
Favorite campus memory:
My favorite campus memories occurred every year. The football team generally started training camp in early/mid August. We'd be sequestered somewhere training for two weeks with two a day practices, weight training, film and playbook study pretty much removed from the rest of the world. Camp would break and we'd have a couple days to go back home (I'd go to Detroit) before coming back to campus for preparation for the first game. I'd generally come back up on the Saturday, one week out from the first game. This seemed to also be the day that students were moving back into their dorms and generally returning to Kzoo. I’ll always remember that the energy in the air was palpable and it almost seemed like you could hear the school band playing in your ear wherever you went (I think to an extent you could because they seemed to be practicing all the time). The colors, the smells, the sound...all induced goosebumps and was really an illustration of why one’s college community remains part of their life forever.
Football games are hard to win. That fact was never more evident than my junior year at Western. After relatively successful freshman and sophomore campaigns that both ended with 7-4 records, our 0-8 start in my third season was as bad as it gets. It's hard enough studying and doing what's required as a student-athlete when you are winning; but it takes a whole other level of grit and persistence to write a paper on Sunday after a 38-0 shutout to Akron.
What made things worse is that I had been elected captain of the team that year and I was starting to see our failure as a reflection on me. My teammates did a really good job of picking me up when it should have been the other way around. After a tough overtime loss to a superior Toledo team, we headed into our ninth game against a heavily favored Bowling Green team that needed to win to keep their MAC championship hopes alive. Somehow, we came together and eked out a win in overtime in an amazing back and forth match-up that still feels like a bit of a dream. The dream culminated with me celebrating with my teammates by doing snow angels on the field. Those snow angels ended up on Sports Center only partly because they revealed the jubilation and relief of a team that notched its first win; the primary reason they made the highlights of the week is because there was no snow anywhere in sight.
We won our next game 72-28 against Kent State and as returning captain, I helped lead our team to an 8-3 record the following year, the most wins in a single season in school history (at that time). That memory stands out to me because of all the lessons I learned about life that still serve me today; and of course, I'm constantly reminded that I was the guy who did snow angels with no snow.