The Discipline of an Athlete by Afu O.

Wake up. Eat. Class. Meetings. Workout. Class. Eat. Class. Practice. Homework. Go to bed.

This is a typical day for me during football season at Alabama A&M University. My name is Afu Okosun and I am a senior majoring in Community Planning and Urban Studies with a concentration in Construction Management. Lema Nsah, my dear cousin in law, asked me to write a brief article regarding the self discipline that I use as a student athlete and how it applies to my everyday life.

Football has been a way of life for me ever since I was 7 years old. It was my introduction to organized sports and has changed my life ever since I began playing. Sports is something that, as a child I learnt brings communities together because playing "at the park" was just a way of life in College Park, GA. Even at an early age, I became used to getting out of school, coming home for a short while, and then leaving back out to go to practice only to return home at 7 or 8 p.m. to finish any homework that I had. It kept me very busy as a child (which was the real aim for my mother letting me play along with weight loss). What I didn't realize at the time is that it was preparing me for my life.

Entering into high school, football for me only intensified. I was becoming a very good athlete and the thought of me playing at the collegiate level became more real every day. The one thing about organized sports is that the higher you go with them, the more dedicated you have to become.

Each year, more of my friends would fall off to the wayside because they didn't have the dedication to the sport as well as their academics. Knowing my goals and what I wanted to accomplish, failure for me was not an option. One thing that I have realized in my 21 years on earth is that in life, there are certain limitations on what we can do. As people, most of these limitations are those that we set for ourselves unknowingly and the rest are those that we "think" are there but in actuality, are not.

I achieved great success in my football endeavors while in high school. This afforded me an athletic scholarship to Alabama A&M University. I am now in my 4th year as a student at this institution. I say this with much pride because as a freshman there were 32 of us that signed on athletic scholarship. Of those 32, 16 of us are left. That may seem like a horrible thing but in actuality that is quite good.

Many people don't realize what it takes to be an athlete on this level. People see the games on television, and the grandeur of the classics and bowl games and think that we have it made. Wrong. Especially for myself at a Historically Black College and University (HBCU), I have had my fair share of life lessons.

The only way that I have made it this far is by self discipline that was instilled in me a long time ago by a loving mother as well as my football coaches who never wanted to hear excuses or reasons why you couldn't get the job done. And to be honest, this is the way of the world. No one is going to feel sorry for you if you are on the job and have a deadline to meet and you can't make it. No one is going to care that you were not prepared for that presentation. Just like on the football field, the man across from you does not care if you lifted enough weights or got enough repititions in practice this week. Because at the end of the day, its either you or him.

Football has been a way of life for me for a very long time. It has instilled self discipline within me that I feel will carry me for the rest of my life.

You get out, what you put in. No one can make you better than you want to make yourself. And I want to be the best.

Afu Okosun

You can find out more about this young, intelligent and dynamic young man by 'google-ing' his name.
Afu is someone my husband and I are personally very proud of, not just because we have watched him grow but because the younger generation in the family looks up to him. He's always been number 1 to us and many many people who have come across his path. He understands it's not always about sports which he clearly loves. He has excelled in his studies as well with a very high grade point. He will definitely graduate from college with honors. He has excelled on both fronts, he is a role model for all young men out there.
I found this video of Afu on youtube, which was posted by his little brother Ehi and I want to share it with you.

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