Football can be the ultimate teacher

I have been playing football since I was 8 years old. I’m now 26. One thing I can say is, football has been the ultimate teacher.

This sport has taught me so many things about myself that I believe I would have never found if I hadn’t played football. It has taught me love, commitment, dedication, mental toughness, passion, and the list goes on. The game of football can give you a mixture of so many highs and lows that it strongly influences your character. Just think about how many relationships are built through football, how many thoughts run through your mind during competition, the places it can take you are limitless.

Just look at me, somehow I ended up in Germany after taking 3 years away from the game. I’m now back playing the game that I love again. I wouldn’t say it defines who I am, but it plays a major role in the man I am today. Outside of all the recognition I’ve gotten from playing football, from Pop Warner, to high school, from Clemson University all the way to the New Yorker Lions, the ultimate lesson that football taught me is that as an athlete, you are special. This is the hardest game you can play, from what you ask out of your body physically in conjunction with still having to stay level headed through the obstacles of everyday life.

In 2012 I sustained my first serious injury of my career. I remember like it was yesterday, it was against Virginia Tech one of my favorite teams growing up when they had Michael Vick, Kam Chancellor, Macho Harris, and so many other great players.

On that day first half I was heating up, I’m a true junior at the time and I feel like I’m about to have one of those career games. I almost pick off a screen and take it to the house. Then it happened. A few plays later on a sweep play to my side I come up to fill the run and it happens. I fracture my ankle, tore all my ligaments, and also broke my fibula.

At that moment, 80,000+ people in the stadium fall completely silent. I’m laying on the field and all I could hear was this voice in my head saying ‘I got you!’. At that point my leg is heating up to a point where it eventually went numb. That was it, my junior season was over.

However, you would think I would be sad, but instead I was optimistic. I knew it happened for a reason, what reason? I wasn’t sure yet. But what I did know was that I would be fine, that voice resonated with me. What did that injury do for my life? It completely changed my mental state. It allowed me to shift my focus on other things such as my spiritual life, and the business world.

See, I know football can be taken away at any moment because I have experienced it, and that’s how I realized that I was more than a football player, I had so much more potential. If I had never had that injury, maybe I wouldn’t be so well rounded. But what I do know is that because of it I came back better, stronger, wiser, and now I could help others grow, not just in football, but life, because I was told that one thing should never define you. Even if that one thing is the greatest sport on this planet!

– Darius Robinson