By: Max Godby
My scouting reports sit on top of my travel bag, waiting for me to wake up to read through them one more time before I head over to the facility for a quick run through. After a run through, you can tell in the teams eyes or not if they are truly ready for a road game; this team is. I sit on the plane, sleep usually escapes me, and I read through my daily scripture and review any film I have not finished watching while on our flight. It is the only thing that helps me keep my mind of being thousands of feet in the air. Once we finally land, it is important to forget about football for a little bit. If you focus on something as important as winning a big game on primetime television, players tend to over think and ultimately hurt either their preparation or confidence. I take that advice to heart, I sit with the other offensive linemen traveling and have a big dinner as a team at the hotel. Following our team meal, Coach Stoops always takes us to see a movie. This is a great time to sit with a player you don’t know well, or a player you have known for five years, and build that community and fellowship even more.
My dad made a promise to me after my eighth grade football team won the Bluegrass Conference after he missed the first half because of a business trip, “I will never miss another game.” Ever since I have started traveling with UK, my mom and dad have come to every home and away game. When we travel to away games, my parents always meet me in the hotel lobby, like a lot of the player’s parents, after our movie. It is weird to think about, but it almost makes me feel like I am in little league football again. My dad always gave me a speech about being a competitor, while my mom sits beside me holding on to my arm. My mom would always chime in at the end and say, “But have fun.” Who would of thought that the same pregame scene from a pee wee field in Middletown, KY would be played out over and over in different places like Gainesville, Athens, Knoxville or Baton Rouge. That is the one consistent lesson that the game of football has taught me. You can never be influenced by the setting you play. You have to be rely on what you have done over and over within you.
The same goes for a stadium. The Swamp, I really cannot believe it. This is my second time playing under the hot, Gainesville sun. I have such an unbelievable opportunity to play at some amazing stadiums: between the hedges of Georgia, the night games in Death Valley, and hearing Rocky top at Neyland Stadium or Sandstorm at Williams-Brice Stadium in South Carolina. The Swamp is an unreal monument of the SEC. I even have the honor of calling Commonwealth Stadium my home. However, the people in those stands do not make it football, nor do chants or noise. It is the truly the field. May have a little bit nicer grass, but it is the same dimensions of the field I played on from ten to eighteen years old before I was a Kentucky Wildcat and still a CAL Centurion. That is the same thing with life. You cannot allow outside occurrences influence your success; it is truly within. It is the strength from within that allows someone to strap on a helmet and compete in a hostile environment and still feel confident, because he knows he is prepared.