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Love of the Game



Don Nehlen carried off field

I was maybe 6 or 7 years old when I fell in love with football. I remember watching Tony Dorsett while he was in college, and saying to myself, WOW, I want to be like him! It started out as a dream, and turned into a burning desire.

I had an opportunity to attend the offense, defense instructional football camp in Connecticut during the summer of my 8th grade year. Tony Dorsett was the running back coach for the days I was there. So he coached me along with the other RB’s. That was one of the greatest moments of my young life. Tony Dorsett working with me, and showing me how to be a better running back. Well, that’s all I needed. I worked hard during that camp, and had a chance to show it. We scrimmaged at the end of the camp, and I wound up running all over the place. I scored a few touchdowns, and at the end of camp, I won the MVP award.

I went into high school at St. Joseph’s during my Freshman year with great confidence. I knew the love, passion, and that burning desire to be the best running back that I could be would soon be shown. It’s a great feeling to work hard, and really understand the benefits of hard work! I enjoyed training, and working on my game each day. I enjoyed watching film, and wanted to correct my mistakes.

The game of football could change your entire life! It’s a great game! The game of football took an inner city kid like myself, and turned me into one of the most highly recruited running backs in the country coming out of St. Joseph’s High school, located in West New York, New Jersey. The game of football made me a high school All-American, high school Hall of Famer, and a standout student-athlete at West Virginia University.

I think back on my high school years, and I realize the importance of football, and sports in general. I was always motivated, and inspired to want success in my life, but football helped to put everything on perspective for me. The love of football, helped to keep me focused in school, and kept me out of trouble on the streets.

I was blessed to have great coaches during the developmental stages of my young career. Those great men also helped to push me to want more out of my life. So along with my mother, you can say that football helped to mature me, and grow a young boy, into a man.

The game of football taught me a great deal about myself. I learned discipline, commitment, work ethic, time management, and how to compete. All of the above were things my mother always discussed with me, but I know that football helped to drive those points home. It was a great resource for me as a child.

Whenever I do speaking engagements anyway in the country, I often reflect back on how the love of football helped to structure a standard, and a blueprint for my life! In order to be successful at anything, you have to love it, have passion for it, and never give up on it!

I learned those critical things from playing the greatest game ever made! The game of football. Good luck to all of those future great football players! #WVRB33

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