Brian Forth: 'Thank You'

Dec. 7, 2000

What an interesting season this has turned out to be! The past five months have been a turbulent roller coater ride for the ASU football program. Despite all the adversity this team has faced, we still find ourselves heading to paradise on Christmas Day to play in the Aloha Bowl.

The bowl selection process for Arizona State seemed to be as indecisive as our current Presidential election. At first we were headed to one of the Hawaii bowls, and then the possibility of the Sun Bowl came into the picture. The Las Vegas Bowl was added to the mix and seemed to be a lock. Even last Sunday on ESPN's bowl selection show, the confusion continued. A ticker on the bottom of the screen had ASU playing in the Las Vegas Bowl against UNLV. A few minutes later it was announced that the Devils would be playing in Hawaii against Boston College. It wasn't until a few hours later that I learned that we would be returning to paradise.

For the second consecutive year, a bid to a bowl game would come to the winner of the ASU, U of A football game. I am so proud of this team for shaking off all the criticism and negativity surrounding the program and going down to Tucson and dismantling the Wildcats. The win not only sealed a fourth bowl bid in five years for the Devils, but also gave me a winning record versus our hated rivals during my five-year career.

Personally, I am ecstatic to return to the Aloha Bowl for our final game of the 2000 season. Reality set in the week before the Arizona game that this might be the final time I put on pads and play in a football game. As I noted in an earlier article, football has been a part of my life for the past 15 years, and I cannot imagine my life without this great sport being a part of it. The Aloha Bowl extends this season for another month and gives our team an opportunity to go out in style. Another reason I am looking forward to our trip to Hawaii is to amend last year's embarrassing loss to Wake Forest. The Aloha Bowl is a made-for-television game that is shown nationally on Christmas Day. The Devils can restore a little respect with a victory against a tough Boston College team. Not only do I want to sent Coach Snyder and his staff out with a win, but I want to end my career as a Sun Devil as a winner.

Last year's trip was also a nightmare for many people associated with the ASU football family. Food poisoning sidelined a handful of players during the game and added to a miserable trip back to Phoenix. Staff members experienced flight delays on the way out to Hawaii. The charter flight home for the Sun Devils was delayed because of an engine malfunction on our plane. One of our coach's wives passed out due to heat exhaustion at the airport terminal. Lastly, our team was embarrassed on national television. All of these negatives affected the outlook people have on playing in Hawaii. I want this year's trip to be a much more enjoyable one.

At the conclusion of each regular season, the Sun Devils have their team awards ceremony. This year, the banquet was set up a little different than it has been in years past. In addition to the awards which are presented, the banquet serves as a salute to the outgoing seniors. They usually have an opportunity to say a few words and thank those who have helped them get to where they are today. For some reason, the seniors this year were not given that opportunity to speak. It is important to me to acknowledge those who have helped me along the way while I have been at ASU.

I want to thank Coach Snyder and his staff for giving me the opportunity to live my childhood dream. Nobody in America thought this little skinny white kid could play college football at the Division I level. I appreciate the opportunity to walk on to your program and have the chance prove my worth over the years. Thank you, Coach Pflugrad, for being more than just my position coach, but also a friend. I have the utmost respect for you and wish you only the best in the future.

Thank you to my colleagues at the Sun Devils Sports Network. I appreciate the opportunity to work for your organization and write this weekly article. A special thank you to Tim Healey for being a great friend and mentor. Your help on this article is greatly appreciated.

Thank you to our head athletic trainer, Perry Edinger and his staff. I spent a lot more time with you than I would have liked, but thanks for keeping me in one piece throughout my career at ASU.

Thank you to our strength and conditioning staff. You have been on me all season for a little pub in my article. Thank you for pushing me to be the best that I can be. Coach Wenner, I will miss our weekly conversations in the ice tub at the hotel. Best of luck to all of you in the future.

Thank you to my teammates. I especially appreciate the opportunity to play in one more game with you guys. For you younger guys on the team, enjoy everyday you have at ASU. I thought my senior year would never come, but time goes by fast. Don't ever forget that there are thousands of kids across America that would love to be in you position. Work hard and get this program back to where we all want it to be. A special thank you to my close friends on the team, Mike Aguirre and Jason Moore. We came in together five years ago and what a exciting trip it has been. I know the future only holds great things for the two of you.

Thank you to the fans of ASU football. You are the reason why college football is so enjoyable. I appreciate all of your wonderful comments sent in about my article. I hope that you have found this article insightful and honest. We have a few more weeks left in this season and I promise to keep you informed with all of the latest news from the ASU football team until the end. I am working right now at finding a teammate to take over this duty for next season.

I would like to thank my beautiful girlfriend and her family (all of whom are ASU Alumni). You guys have been so supportive of me throughout my career. Shannon, I truly appreciate the sacrifices you have made to be here this season to support me during my final season.

Last, but certainly not least, I would like to thank my family. In my four-year playing career, my folks never missed a football game. I am so fortunate to have such a supportive family. Deb, thank you for being so caring and compassionate. You have been such a great mother figure in my life and I am glad that we have established such a strong relationship. To my sister Melissa, I am glad that we finally broke the bad luck jinx with you at my games. You are such an intelligent person and I know you will be extremely successful in life. Bring that good luck to Hawaii! To my Dad, thank you for teaching me that hard work pays off. You have taught me what it takes to be a man and how to be successful in the world we live in. I promise we will end this thing with a victory over your formal college rival - Boston College. I love you all and could have never accomplished what I did in my career here at ASU without you.

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