Chris Mays is a University of Michigan student on a journey to find a place on the football team. Mays will be submitting “journals” discussing the trials and tribulations on his road to success, and will also update us on his progress. Remember to support Chris Mays on Twitter and to use the hash tag #MakeChrisMaysAVictor!
The Waiting Game
When I first decided to keep on pursuing to be on Team 133 despite being cut, I knew that my odds were staked up against me, but I was determined to make a good comeback and do whatever it takes so that I can walk on that field with a winged helmet on at the Big House. It’s something that I continue to do so this day, I haven’t given up on it. I’ve been working out, training as hard as I can, and now that finals are done I can put more effort into my work. But one thing that has been a problem for me recently is not just making sure that I’m in shape for the coaches–but getting in reach of them in general.
I like to say that it’s a waiting game and it’s almost impossible to try to get a immediate response. In some cases, the silence in emails, replies, or constant voicemails that I leave can be more discouraging then having someone tell you that you can’t make it right in front of your face. It’s a mind battle. Trying to figure out who to contact and when was almost just as difficult. It took me literally weeks for me to finally get the connections that I need to even express my determination to make it. As frustrating as it sounds, the greater the reward is when I get that phone call or email back. Sometimes their helpful other times I’m told to get in contact with someone else. But with every effort that I make I know that I am getting closer and closer to making this a reality. And with people constantly telling me to keep going for it and to not stop, well that gives me even more confidence to keep fighting.
One thing that I’ve learned so far in this particular point in my journey is that there is a lot of mental games-especially when you’re trying to make it on the team. There will be times where people say it’s too late, but I know from other experiences and friends from Summer Bridge that have told me stories about how they tried out right at the end of the August and were able to participate in the 2010 season. That gave me hope. It’s never too late. There is still over a 100 days till kickoff and a lot can happen. But more importantly, a lot can change for me. If I stay focused, stay positive, energetic, and show that I have a true passion for this sport and will do whatever it takes to get on Team 133–well that may just be the recipe I need to make this happen.
Another advise that I was given, by Coach Al Borges himself a month ago, is to never let the coaches forget who you are and what passion you have for the sport and to never let anyone take your dream away from you. That really hit me. I realized that from that point on that I would have to make sure that not only am I improving, but that eventually people would catch on and that coaches would notice my effort too. That when I decided to go public about my tryout attempts to hope that with a support and prayer that people will get the word out and that it would spread to not only the university, but also to kids who were struggling with believing that they can overcome high odds in sports. And let me tell you–it has gone far beyond what I have ever imagined. I would have never guessed that this strategy would have worked and how touched that people are that I’m doing this. I’ve never seen so many compliments and well wishes for me in something in years! I was literally blown away that former Football players even emailed me with words of wisdom.
So even though it’s been a difficult week trying to get in reach of coaches, I know that with the words of wisdom, encouragement, and faith that I have been given by hundreds and thousands of people, that I will be able to be successful. No matter what, never give up and eventually you will see that those doors will open for you. That those days that I have spent impatient between phone calls will eventually pay off. I know they will and I will continue to stay positive and work hard to reach that.