When Saquon Barkley was playing football at Whitehall High School in Pennsylvania, he was the same size when everyone else was growing. His 5’7″ 155-pound body was not exploding with growth as his fellow teammates. He was one of the best track and field stars but knew it was only to improve his football prowess.
He felt stuck. He stepped away from the game, feeling he didn’t have what it took to contribute to the team. His coach caught up with him, recommending, “There’s the weight room. Just work a little harder.” This year Saquon was #1 on the Sports Illustrated list of the top ‘Freaks’ in college football, those players capable of outrageous athletic feats. With a power-clean of 405 pounds, he set a school record. He also squatted 525 pounds, bench-pressed 405 and was hand-timed at 4:33 seconds in the 40-yard dash.
He applies the same principle to his playing as a running back at Penn State. And his life. When plays break down, he’s able to find a way out. He’s able to make something out of nothing. He doesn’t get stuck. His nickname is 26 Questions; his playing number is 26 and his coach says he has at least that many questions about what the opposing defense will do during each play.
His reward so far? Among other kudos, being named Big Ten’s offensive player of the year. And what stokes him up? When asked, he doesn’t mention his accomplishments, his awards. Instead, he remembers last year’s third-and-four in the fourth quarter against USC in the Rose Bowl, a play where he lost 7 yards. Never mind he made three touchdowns during the game. He set up that play as the driving force for his off-season workouts. His teammates call him the Humble Superstar. But for him, he’s still making something out of nothing. His legacy? That he was part of building something bigger than himself. He’s living unstuck.
Do you live unstuck?
If you believe in yourself and have dedication and pride — and never quit, you’ll be a winner. The price of victory is high but so are the rewards.
— Paul “Bear” Bryant