THE BOX Uncategorized

The heart of an athlete: Why we play the game

Ask any athlete who played prior to 2000, their motivation was never for individual accolades or media exposure. It was being part of a fraternity that would last a life time. Being a member of an elite group that stood above the rest because of hard work, dedication and respect for each other.

Football was more than about rankings and polls. It was more than Twitter and Facebook, pictures and video. It was about young men, growing together as a unit. Accomplishing goals that were set and respecting the hierarchy that was earned. Captains, walked and talked like captains. Coaches were feared as much as respected and teammates believed in the power of “Us” because “I” could be counted on to do the job assigned.

Motivation drives an athlete. Whether the motivation was personal or openly advertised, players are pushed and the good ones rise to the occasion.

Below, I asked 9 athletes the same question, “What REALLY pushes and motivates you to be GREAT?” The answers slightly vary, but the strength and power of the answers are strong and hit home.

Deiontè Strozier
Land O’ Lakes

What motivates me is my coaches, family and friends. They tell me everyday how good I could be or how good I am and that pushes me to do my best everyday on and off the field. What else motivates me is not having an offer yet and being told by other athletes and coaches how good I am and not having an offer yet, really tells me I am good and really want to play on the next level.

DiQuan Walker
Clearwater Central Catholic

Well, I haven’t had a father figure in my life growing up, so it has just been my mom raising three kids on her own. It has been everything but easy growing up and my mom still finds a way to keep going everyday. So my mom is what pushes and motivates me to be great. She has always pushed me to be the best I can be and then go above and beyond that. I just hope one day that I will be able to take care of her like she has taken care of me.

Jahrvis Davenport

The thing that pushes me the most is growing up, seeing how hard it was to take care of me and my siblings.
And if I make it to the next level, with or without sports, I want to be the first in my family to go and get a college degree.

Jeremiah Jackson

What really motivates me and pushes me to be great is a couple of things. For one, my height. I really want to play linebacker or strong safety at the next level but it’s always the issue about my height so I play with a chip on my shoulder. I go to camps and online and see all these 4 and 5 star line backers I feel like I’m better than and that makes me have to play to another level. Be not just a great hitter but chasing the ball from sideline to sideline and not just getting INTs but returning them for touchdowns. Another thing that motivates me is just wanting to better my life. God gave me these talents and gifts to play, why not play for my family, my small city and for my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Because, I give him all the honor and praise! I play for him. I’m not the fastest or the biggest, but with God on my side, I can overcome anything. Through me playing for him, God gets the glory.

Kyle Henderson

The ultimate goal of being unstoppable! My grandfather was a Marine and he used to always tell me don’t let anyone stop me from doing what I want and achieving my goals in life. So when I put my mind to something, nine times out of ten, I’m going to get it done. Before he passed in 2010, he told me just to be great and he knew out of all his grand kids, I would be the most successful due to my work. Before everything I do football,school,lifting anything…I just give a quick praise to myself and ask my grandpa to watch over me.

Nate Craig-Myers, Pasco

Nate Craig-Myers

I grew up not having a lot. Seeing my mom as a single parent have to do it by herself to get my brother and I what we wanted, really just made me stay motivated and keep pushing to get my momma that house on the hill.

Patrick Brooks

What motivates me to be great is knowing that there’s people out there everyday working hard trying to get where I wanna go and knowing that I gotta be on top of my game everyday. No Days Off, Hungry for Success and trying to put my family in a better place.

Steven Phillips
Liberty (Kissimmee fl)

What pushes me and motivates me to be great is the people around me. I have wonderful people in my life that push me day in and day out, to do my best at everything I do whether it’s in life or on the field. Also, the feeling of being great is something everyone wants. I want to be able to look back and say ‘I did the best I can do’ and of course, I’m a competitor. I love competing. I’ve been doubted all my life and I make sure I out work the person next to me every chance I get and that’s what pushes and motivates me to be great.

Zach Honnold
East Ridge

What motivates me to be great is the feeling you get when you succeed! To be able to see all the hard work put in on the field, in the weight room and anywhere else, pay off is great!