The NCAA College Football Playoff National Championship was last Monday and it was not exactly a game that will be remembered as one of the best matchups.
As a Bengals fan it was incredibly exciting to watch Joe Burrow tear up yet another top defence in the Clemson Tigers, throwing for 463 yards and five touchdowns.
But I digress.
Forgetting about the evil organization that is the NCAA, the players themselves are so amazing to watch; the sheer emotion and passion being evoked by them.
For most of the players in the final, it was their last chance to play in a primetime sports game with millions upon millions watching them. It’s why the wins are that much sweeter and the losses are that much harder to swallow.
According to the NCAA’s statistics, only two per cent of division one football players get drafted to the NFL. That number does not include actually getting a contract or playing time. The odds of making it as a pro are very slim.
Personally, watching college sports is a reminder of the dedication that so many put into the sports they love. For many players, it is a culmination of the early morning practices, long road trips and heavy enrollment costs to play amateur sports.
Forget the NCAA—the same holds true for university sports across Canada as well. I’ll never forget when the Concordia Stingers were eliminated by the Queen’s Gaels in the 2018-19 OUA East Division playoffs. It was captain Philippe Hudon’s last game as a Stinger.
When the Gaels scored their overtime series clinching goal, Hudon’s tears immediately started to flow. I could only imagine what was going through his head at that moment.
The amount of sacrifice that goes into a student athlete playing for their school is quite astonishing. After the University of Connecticut Huskies won the 2014 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament, Shabazz Napier, the team’s point guard, said in an interview with Fox Sports that he had had a lot of hungry nights.
This is why so many people love college sports. Yes, the NCAA is a disgusting organization; it cannot be said enough. The players’ stories resonate with so many and show us how much they sacrifice to play a game they love.
Watch some highlights of either college football or basketball national championship finals, and take a look at the players’ faces. That’s how much sports mean to them.