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For the Green Terror Football Team

For those who do not know, I have the distinct privilege of being the faculty mentor to McDaniel College's Green Terror Football Team. In addition to that role, I am also privileged to teach these young men, many of whom sign up for my classes. This past Saturday I watched them fight a dogged battle against a conference foe. And come up a wee bit short. Like three points short. But short is short. I get that.

So this post is for them.

I have watched football all my life. I understand (most of) the rules and the plays. But I have never really understood football until now. And I am only starting to understand it: what it takes to get up play after play after you have been banged around. Or what it takes to play with your whole heart and come up short, and yet get on the bus, go back to campus, and get ready for the next opponent the next week. And I freely admit that I still have a lot to learn.

As I watched the team yesterday, I was thinking about how there is a theme running through higher education circles currently about instilling more grit and resilience in college students. Some feel that this generation's students are too weak and anxious; they need to toughen up!

Well, there are 125 or so young men on a college football team in Westminster, Maryland who are pretty danged tough. They show grit and resilience every Saturday afternoon. They showed it in abundance this past Saturday, in a tough, hard loss. But they never gave up until the very last second. Every single one of them was attuned to what was happening. They were a group of gritty and resilient souls.

I am the luckiest professor in the conference to be this close to these champions, these student athletes who show so much grit and resilience on the field and in their lives. Because as the mentor, I get to hear about the struggles they have in their lives, too. In their classrooms. At home. With finances. And how they overcome them. I am privileged and blessed (yes, I'm using that word) to get to help them.

For those administrators and faculty out there in higher education who want to cultivate more grit and resilience among their student body: look to your student athletes.

Because if they are anything like the Green Terror Football team, they've got grit and resilience in spades.

4 thoughts on “For the Green Terror Football Team

  1. Debbie Diehl

    Wow! As the mother of two former Green Terror Football players, this article resonates with me! How refreshing to hear a college administrator talk like this! I have five children and so far three have played college sports. It's not easy and there are lots of challenges. Keep up the good work.

    1. Gretchen McKayGretchen McKay

      Thank you for the comment! I have been surprised at how widely shared this post has been. I wrote it from the heart and I thank you for taking the time to write this. I will keep cheering and supporting in all ways!

  2. Kevin Loney

    Dr. McKay, I'm a graduate of a McDaniel rival (Dickinson) and currently an assistant football coach at Bowdoin College. Thank you for your words and observations. It has always been refreshing to hear and see professors and administrators walking in the shoes of the student-athletes. Please keep up the good work, and hopefully the young men you are working with understand how lucky they are. Have a great season, and please take it easy on my Red Devils in a couple of weeks.

  3. Shawn scott

    Thank you what you do. It is great to see the faculty and the students support each other. It is a testament to the dedication of the faculty and staff what they do for these young men. Having a senior and a sophomore in the team I can say both boys picked the right school.


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