Dec. 7, 2001
Finding words to describe what I feel right now is very difficult, so try to understand if this article is scatterbrained. On one hand, it is a relief that the season is over. The frustration and the losing can't hurt us anymore. The good news is that while the bad taste in my mouth will last forever, the underclassmen get to work towards next season.
As I look back on my ASU career I can't say that I have any regrets other than not winning more games. Playing college football has been the most fun time of my life, as well as one of the most educational. Football has taught me so much about myself. I have learned about resilience, leadership, adversity, heartache, pain, excitement, pressure, stress, and so much more.
Life is a lot like a football game. There are ups and there are downs. Sometimes you get good breaks, and sometimes you must make your own. When no one believes in you, self-confidence and faith are the only things that get you through. Those lessons will stay with me forever, and I owe that to football.
The relationships I have built with my teammates will last a lifetime. 20 years from now when I am sitting in the stands at Sun Devil Stadium, I know that the guys I played with feel the same thing I do when I walk through the gates. The smell of the grass, the sounds of the game... all the things we take for granted will always be there to remind us of what was.
I know that one day I will watch a Sun Devil team take the field with players that weren't even born when I played at ASU. I know that the desire for that squad to be a dominant team will never die nor diminish. I know that I will always despise the U of A. And I know that no matter what happens in my quest to play at the next level someday, nothing could ever compare to the experience of college football.
There are so many memories, but many of them blur together... the UCLA game in '99 when Delvon ran that screen pass 50 yards for the game-winning touchdown... my first punt at ASU against T-Tech in '99 (the one I didn't even kick because I dropped the snap)... playing at Notre Dame... spending two weeks in Hawaii with my teammates... climbing into the stands at U of A in 2000 after our win... the heartache after the double overtime Oregon game in 2000... Camp T... signing my scholarship papers... playing at the Rose Bowl. It's hopeless to try to explain what each of those memories means to me. They are priceless. ASU football has given me opportunities to do things most people only dream of.
To the underclassmen, cherish each opportunity you have. Although at times it seems like football never ends, trust me it does. The opportunity to compete at a high level only comes 11 or 12 times a year and only for four years. When it is all said and done, you will remember every snap of every game you played in and every score to go with it, but you will hardly remember any of the pain of training or practice. You won't remember the times you wanted to quit, but you will remember the games you could have won, and you will always wonder, 'what if?' Work hard and never quit. Your senior season doesn't have to be like mine. Only 4 wins in an entire season is pathetic. What are you willing to do to make sure that never happens to you?
I wish the Sun Devils the best in the future. The football alumni will always be on your side regardless of what people say, think, or write about us. We are one family, and at times like this we need to pull together and find a way to get this thing back on track. I will always be here to help with anything, and I hope to buy a maroon and gold T-shirt with the words 'Pac-10 Champions' on it very soon. Thanks for the memories Devils. Best of luck and God bless.
If you are interested, I will continue writing these articles in a diary-style format, and be glad to share what life is like between now and April as I try to make it to the next level. If that seems like something you guys want to read about just email me. I can include interviews with seniors like Levi Jones (who will get drafted) and guys like myself (who will probably have to try the free agent route) and then compare them. No matter what, it should be a fun experience. Let me know.
Nick can be reached via email at MurphysLaw84@aol.com
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