Why We Love College Football
By Joel Klatt, special to FOX Sports
Football is a refining fire that builds a man's character.
The sport is tough and demands discipline to an extent uncommon in normal life. When you think you have pushed yourself mentally and physically to your capacity, more is required – and often found. There will be times you are humbled and tested only to find courage and resilience that you did not know you had.
It is these traits that are developed and produced from the rigors of football.
As humans, we have an innate desire to be connected to something bigger than ourselves. I believe football is the greatest of team sports, where one man cannot control an outcome, but rather 11 men together performing in unison and with great detail and discipline can achieve success.
Being part of something bigger gives meaning and purpose to an individual and that creates a sense of urgency to be accountable and take responsibility for your actions.
Football is a true meritocracy where results are the currency regardless of background. I was a walk-on at the University of Colorado, where my dad took me to see games as far back as 1986.
I was not the fastest, nor did I have the strongest arm, but I worked hard and learned the game well enough to win the starting job. I didn’t have any stars next to my name and yet when I was finished I had set over 40 records.
That field didn’t care who I was or where I was from.
Football is the true melting pot. If you go into any locker room, you will see men from every corner of the country and from every background: Black, White, Latino, Asian, rich, poor, big, small, fast, slow, Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, Atheist, Democrat and Republican.
Yet none of those things defines any individual in that room – only your ability to perform the task asked of you.
I sweat, cried, bled, laughed, and screamed with men from Texas, California, Colorado and even Louisiana. We were brothers and still are to this day. In hindsight, this was likely the most valuable and lasting individual take away from my time playing College Football.
Football is the driver of change, progress and opportunity. While some throw arrows at the monetary success of Football, what they fail to see are the countless opportunities that this sport gives to athletes in every sport. There are 150,000 scholarship athletes and the overwhelming majority of those are funded via revenue and donations tied in some way to football.
An education is still one of the most powerful agents of change for those who are underprivileged or come from lower socioeconomic areas. Football is VITAL for the continued collegiate athletic model and for those kids working hard all over the country dreaming of receiving scholarship money, knowing it is their only path to an education after high school.
Lastly, College Football connects us through the generations. All of us are proud alumni of the institutions we attended, and it can feel at times like family with others who attended, regardless of when it was. Well, the football team and their games act as the Thanksgiving dinner for that extended family. A time to come together and enjoy the connection to your past with the ones who helped shaped it!
I – we – love College Football.