In the days leading up to the Scarlet Bowl, I began to reminiscence about my first year as a Rutgers student. I had managed to accumulate a good group of friends, but something was still missing. After years of playing high school football, there was still a craving for that adrenaline rush you get when running around with the old pig skin. Unfortunately, I wasn’t confident enough to face my fears of trying out for the Rutgers football team. The next best thing was to toss the football around behind the Quads and hope that a Rutgers coach might see me and ask me to join the team. Surprisingly, someone did ask me to join a team; it was for a small flag football team that played on the Busch fields underneath those bright pseudo stadium lights. I immediately jumped on the idea and played for the entire semester, and although we didn’t win anything, I was so hooked that I formed my own team (RU Elite) every year that followed. It was my first time joining anything at Rutgers and a start of a memorable college experience.
In retrospect, joining Flag Football was when I took control of my own destiny and began finding my true self. Prior to playing, I was falling into the pattern of “group think” and began losing my identity. I continued playing flag football and eventually I began officiating to be around the action from every perspective. Fast forward to my final year at Rutgers, I’ve moved on from wearing those colorful mesh jerseys and zebra striped shirts to being situated on the sidelines with a DSLR camera in my hand and a different adrenaline rush. Photography.
I hadn’t really thought about how much I’ve grown as a Scarlet Knight, but then it dawned on me.
Flag Football saved my life
Had I not joined flag football, I may not have joined any clubs or organizations throughout my entire Rutgers career. Or even worse, I would have gotten caught in the web of peer pressure and lost track of my way in all the college sized distractions. Flag football saved me physically, mentally, and emotionally. Playing made me evaluate how I treated my health and helped me rid myself of that burdensome freshmen 15. Officiating strengthened my confidence in my decision making. Being a part of a Rutgers community not only helped me express myself, but also helped with self-evaluation. It allowed me to face my fears of losing/failing and gave me the strength to overcome any obstacle life threw my way.
Photos of the Scarlet Bowl
I recently photographed the Scarlet Bowl, a multi-day tournament during which Rutgers intramural flag football teams competed for the title of being named #1. The tournament was intense and the excitement of competition reminded me of flag football’s immense impact on my life.