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Gridiron follies, p.1
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       Gridiron Follies, p.1

           M Koleosho
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Gridiron Follies


  Copyright Mayowa Koleosho 2012





  The adulation. Their chants. Your name up in lights.

  You miss it don’t you; wish you could relive those moments. Wish you could run on that field once again, adrenaline coursing through your body, crowd going crazy at the very mention of your name. Remember the first time we met. What was it? High school championship game I think. It was your coming out party. Prior to that game all that was being talked about was the opposing team’s quarterback and how he was the best player in the state. You used that to motivate yourself, made a vow they’d remember your name after the game. You put up gaudy numbers that night, a performance that will forever be etched in the annals of history.

  I introduced myself as fame; you embraced me, letting me into your life without second guessing my intentions. We hit it off right from the get go. I in turn introduced you to agents, recruiters, boosters, groupies and many more. I admit not all of them had your best interest at heart, most of them saw you as a meal ticket. I should have prepared you better for what lay ahead, but you seemed to be enjoying your new found success too much. Anything I had told you at that point would have been in vain. The big schools came calling shortly afterwards. Your picture was in all of the magazines. I have to give it to you; you took it all in stride. You’d always wanted to be noticed, this was all working into your grand scheme of things.

  You chose Florida, said the weather and the women were too much to pass up on. By now we were inseparable, it was only right I came along with you for the ride. The first two years in college was tough for you. Opportunity to play was scarce, older players continually got the nod over you. You buckled under the pressure, almost transferred out of the school. Our relationship was strenuous; we weren’t hanging out as much. You felt alone, you didn’t want to associate with anyone. I commend you for your perseverance, not many could have dealt with what you did. You were the big fish in the pond that was suddenly dropped in an ocean where there were not only similar type fishes but much larger ones too. You missed home, you missed your folks.

  Kudos to you for sticking it out. You worked your ass off in the gym and made sure you were the last person off the field.

  It paid off!

  The coaches noticed the improvements. You had taken your mother’s advice to heart and turned your frustration into motivation.

  Going into your third year, you were a completely different person on and off the court. The coaches rewarded you with the starting running back position, you answered by amassing the most rushing yards in school history. Many compared you with the greats in the game; your light was shining as bright as ever.

  You sought me out and I obliged. We were a tandem meant for each other. The parties started up again, the groupies were plentiful. You were the big man on campus and everyone wanted a piece of you.

  Your final year of college started off on the wrong foot. The media had compiled lists of Heisman hopefuls; many placed you in the middle of the pack.

  You felt insulted, after all you had played better than most on the list the previous year. You kept to yourself yet again, dedicating your time to improving your body and your game. It did wonders for you.

  Your ‘hit list’ became quite notorious. I still chuckle when I think about it. You put down the names of everyone supposedly better than you, and went after whatever personal records they had set each week. You truly are a beast when motivated. Defenses tried desperately but failed miserably to hold you back. You lead your team not only to an undefeated record but they also won the championship due to your play.

  The Heisman trophy was yours, winning by a unanimous decision. You had proven every single one of your detractors wrong. It was time to move onto something bigger. Your sights were set on conquering the NFL.

  You were touted by many pundits to be selected first in the draft that year. Unfortunately for you, the team with the number one pick happened to be the Minnesota Vikings. You wanted no parts of them, the state and its horrid weather. You made it known from the get go that you wanted a warm weather city and were willing to do anything to play in such a climate.

  The hail storm of criticism was unrelenting. You hadn’t even picked up a football but yet you had ticked off a lot of people. If only they understood how much you detested the cold climate. Was it too much of you to ask to play where you’d be comfortable? Despite all the backlash, your agent was able to make sure you’d get where you wanted.

  The Vikings picked you first but struck a deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars to get you to Florida. You were elated beyond reason when you found out what was about to go down. Once again you were back in Florida. Back in a familiar stomping ground. Some of the best days of your life were in that state, it was only right you went back there to pick up where you had left off.

  Draft night was one of the best nights of your life. It was the cumulation of years of hard work, struggle, self doubt and perseverance.

  Your mother couldn’t have been more proud as you walked across the stage and shook hands with the commissioner. The Jaguars were ecstatic; knowing they finally had that big name back they had always wanted. You were all too eager to get out on the field and show them what you were worth.

  You signed a lucrative contract. At the time of signing, yours was the best rookie contract of that period. That didn’t make you a lot of friends in the media. Not with the way you had handled the whole Vikings issue. To them, you were a spoiled athlete who seemed to be getting his way without proving anything. Not that you needed any more motivation to show why you were the best player in the draft, but yet you used their words to prepare yourself for the upcoming season.

  A new ‘hit list’ was formed, and you had many media figures in it. Every quote you found not to your liking was put up in your locker. It was almost like you were still playing for a deal.

  You were richer than you’d ever imagined but yet you played like you were still searching for your first major deal.

  We weren’t hanging out as much as we should, but whenever we did, it was truly a sight to behold. The women kept coming, in all shapes and sizes. You were pretty much the ‘it’ thing in Jacksonville, your name was well known around.

  Everywhere you went, you were treated like royalty. People were sick of losing, and they felt you were going to change all that. It was a lot of weight to shoulder, the hopes and dreams of the city were pinned on one man….a rookie at that, but if there was anyone who could lift that, it was most definitely you.

  The hype surrounding you was unreal. Your first game was getting so much press. Many wanted to see what you would do. Were you the real deal? Were you worth all the money the Jaguars had signed you for? Would you deliver or would you cave under the pressure? Of course there were some who simply wanted you to fail. You had handled your draft selection badly and they felt you doing poorly with your new team would be justified.

  Have they learned nothing about you? Don’t they know when you are doubted is when you deliver. I coulda told them all this, but why bother…they would come to see this themselves. That first game was not only a spectacle; it was your coming out party to the NFL. The Jaguars clobbered the then current champions the Chicago Bears and did it in dramatic fashion.

  You broke tackles, embarrassed their vaunted defense and set a rookie rushing record all in that game. You had arrived, and as far as you were concerned, there was nothing anyone could do to stop you from being the best back in the game.

  It’d been a while since the Jaguars had been in the playoffs. In fact the team had been one of the bottom dwellers in the league for the past five years. You chang
ed all that. They made the playoffs your rookie year and a lot of that could be attributed to your amazing play on the field. This was the start of what would be an illustrious career. Many pro-bowls and many personal awards down the line.

  I am getting ahead of myself, but looking back at all you accomplished, there’s no doubt you will be mentioned with the Emmitt Smith’ and Barry Sanders’ of the game. The more your star shone, the more our friendship grew. I opened you up to people and places you knew nothing about, you in turn validated me in ways I never thought possible. We worked hand in hand, a symbiotic relationship where both partners benefited from each other.

  You had a couple of vices but none greater than women. Boy did you love them! Your sexual appetite was notorious around Jacksonville. It was something everyone knew or had heard about but no one spoke about it in public. Some of your teammates nicknamed you ‘Wilt’ after the great Los Angeles Lakers legend. That was because he was a well known womanizer and you were just as bad.

  Being young, rich and successful, women wanted you and you never failed to oblige them. Maybe I should have done a better job protecting you from them; then again I doubt I’d have made much of a difference. Even when you weren’t trying, these women found their way into your bed.

  I should have known this
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