This essay was written by Rubio Long Snapper Tanner Sineath (SC, ‘2016). His mother sent it to me…I think without him knowing, but who cares:) and I loved it. I think it really does a good job of showing the emotions and feelings that arise at someone’s first Rubio Long Snapping camp. First timers, parents and Long Snappers, must realize you are not alone and for every single GREAT Long Snapper you see on the field, they had a start and it usually wasn’t good…check films:)
I walked up to the registration table and gave my name, received my camp shirt and went off on my own to get ready to go out on the field. I looked around wishing I was like the other seasoned campers all gathered together. The campers already had nicknames from the camp coaches. They were walking around in their special gold shirts, and I felt hunger. I wanted a gold shirt, I wanted a nickname, I wanted the coaches to know me, I wanted to go out and show them all who I was. Wait! Was that jealousy? Probably, but I didn’t care. It fueled me. I was focused. I was going to make it happen. I was going to have them notice me.
That is when I was snapped back into reality! One of the gold shirts snapped the ball, and I thought DANG! I have bitten off more than I can chew! Suddenly the hunger was gone, and replaced by doubt. I didn’t belong here. I was never going to have a nickname, or a gold shirt, or to be part of the group. I tried to swallow, but it just stayed stuck in my throat like a wad of peanut butter. There is no worse feeling than wanting to retreat, but knowing you can’t. I told myself what is the worst thing that can happen? I told myself back, you will look like a fool in front of everyone! I then decided well at least no one knows me here so if I embarrass myself no one will remember it tomorrow.
There it was, they called my name! Time to show them what I have. I felt like I did ok, not great, but at least it didn’t totally suck! I learned a lot that day! I learned I am my own worst enemy. I learned that I am the only person that can hold me back. Then we went to lunch, and I talked to my parents about my feelings. They did their best job of loading me with clichés of doing your best, and hard work pays off. Along with all of the other things good parents are supposed to say. I am in no way saying I didn’t appreciate it, quite the contrary, it was what I wanted to hear from them, but at the same time I was worried, and not realizing the moment was perfect. I was surrounded by love and support, but so bogged down with self-doubt that I couldn’t really appreciate it.
We head back to the camp, and we are reviewing our snapping videos. Rubio got to my video and had positive things to say about my video, and it pretty much made my whole day. Why is it that a strangers words mattered so much more than my parent’s words? Oh yeah, because he didn’t have to say nice things to me. That wasn’t what he was getting paid to do. He is getting paid to teach me. Boy did he! Not just about snapping, but about life, about others opinions, and how even though the world says it doesn’t matter what someone else thinks or says it absolutely does. No college coach is going to call my mom to get her opinion of me, but they will call him. His opinions and words can open or close doors.
What was my point in all of this? My point is that the world is filled with challenges. It is filled with ups and downs. I have no doubt that football has helped me prepare for the real world. This is one example. It is the most vivid example I have. I am grateful for every moment, every life lesson, every friend, and every rival. They have all prepared me for the real world.