How It Feels To Be Me: A Football Player


Jamir Gasaway

Jamir Gasaway and his father-figure, Coach McKee who inspires him every day

Jamir Gasaway, Contributor

I’m like a cheetah: fast, shifty, versatile. I clamp up the wide receivers. No one can catch the ball on me. I’m a dawg, I play dirty. Before the whistle blows, I get a good hit on the quarterback from the other team. I clap in their face. I talk smack, “ Little boy, you’re a baby. Tell the quarterback to throw the ball this way.”

I didn’t think I would be in school or playing football going into freshman year; I didn’t care about school, I just wanted to play football. I was ineligible for the whole season. Sophomore season came and I picked myself up. I had my mom, my brother and my sister help me with my homework. Maintaining my grades is the hardest part of the game.

After practice, I’m tired and all I want to do is sleep, eat, and shower. In class, if I don’t know anything, I don’t ask for help. I just sit there and think about how I don’t understand it and I don’t ask questions. I just do my own thing; I scroll through social media or listen to music. In class, I love to eat junk food even though it’s not good for me. Takis, fruit snacks, honey buns, Hot Cheetos and last but not least, my homemade famous peanut butter and jelly. Ask some football players, they know what’s up.

During sophomore season I got tragic news about my autistic brother Andre, saying he has cancer. He is 23, and one evening I had to give him a shower because he doesn’t really know what to do. To him, I’m the older brother, but he’s older than I am and I gave him a shower. When he was getting out of the shower, he slipped and fell on his pelvis. We had to go to Scottsdale to see the cancer specialist. He was in the hospital for weeks and I had to stay with my 16-year-old sister. We had to take the bus to school or ask for rides from my friends and my mom’s friends. Teachers didn’t really understand what I was going through at that time because I was missing a lot of school, didn’t have good grades, and either I was getting into fights or getting calls home to my mom about how I was acting at school. I changed a lot from last year when I wasn’t doing the things I needed to do as a student and as a star recruit athlete.

Jamir and his sister

Coach McKee really helped develop me into a young man. He saw my potential to play at the next level and did everything in his power to keep me from doing bad things. He plays a big part in my life now because I’m the man of the house. Due to my dad’s passing when I was younger, McKee is a father-figure to me and it’s been tough love throughout the course of my life. I really didn’t think I would play for the next level because of how I was doing in school. College coaches like players who can get good grades, do what they need to do to succeed in life, and make the most out of it and for their families too.

I didn’t think I would be playing football because the coaches didn’t think I was good enough to play for their team. Coaches would say I suck, tell me to go play somewhere else, and that I couldn’t catch or run the ball. Now that the coaches see my potential, they want me to play at their school, but all my friends go here and I have a lot on my plate. However, I know what I need to do: mostly help my mom, my brothers, my sister and mostly myself. I didn’t come all of this way for nothing and I have to give it my all until I can’t anymore. I play football and go to school for my mom, for my pops who’s looking over me, and my Nannie Lou up there watching me do what I need to do to be a better person.