Senior Day: A Right of Passage
Omar Cook, a fifth-year senior safety, was asked to write about his career at Southern University and what it would be like playing for the last time at A.W. Mumford. This is the blog provided by Cook, a California native and Mass Communications major.
For every college senior, the end of a college career is inevitable. Freshmen arrive on campus thinking they have all the time in the world, until senior year hits and you realize your time is ticking quickly. Since January, I have told myself that I have one season, 13 games left so make it count. With ten games already played, and Senior day approaching on Saturday, it's amazing how fast the time has gone by. Since 2009 I have watched countless players pass through A.W. Mumford Stadium and finish their careers never really taking the time to think that my time is going to come soon.
As a freshman, in the fall of 2009, I came all the way from California to the attend this HBCU and play football but I was quickly met with adversity when I had to sit out my first season because of NCAA Clearinghouse issues. I watched every game from the student section of Mumford stadium and sat in Superdome seats during the Bayou Classic wishing I could be down on the field. After my first semester, I played spring football but I was cut from the team a week before the Spring Game. It was a shock to me because I didn't feel like I was given a fair opportunity to show what I could do. Once again I would sit out a whole season. My first two years of college I had already wasted two years of eligibility and I hadn't even suited up for a game.
It was a little discouraging not being able to play football because I knew that I could play but I began to question whether or not I was going to get another shot. My junior year I walked into the coaches' offices and asked for another opportunity and I walked on to the team midseason. I played scout team the whole season and suited up for one game which was the Bayou Classic. Just suiting up for that game gave me great confidence. My fourth year, I finally played in my first college game against New Mexico. Even though we lost pretty bad and I only got in on special teams, I walked away with my head held high because I accomplished some personal goals. It took me 4 years to finally play in a game and I knew it was only the beginning. I played in 8 games that season but strictly on special teams. Immediately after that season ended I told myself that I was going to be a starter on this team and that I was going to do whatever it took to get a starting spot. I only had one year left so I knew that this had to be the year. All my life I had played cornerback but I told Coach Odums before Christmas break that I wanted to play safety because I knew that was my ticket to getting on the field. I worked hard everyday all Christmas break and spring and finally secured a starting spot.
For the first time in my years at Southern, I felt like I was supposed to be here. The person that kept me positive through everything was my mother. She is always telling me how much she believes in me. Through all the adversity, the ups and downs, I was meant to go through all of it so that I could be successful throughout this year. Not only I have accomplished a lot of personal success this year, but the team as a whole is having the best season we have had since I have been here and to say that I have been a part of it is almost surreal. Southern hasn't been to a SWAC championship in ten years and for me to be on the team that's on its way there is a huge testament to all the hard work I put in. It just tells me that I was meant to be here. The season is nearly over and I still sometimes am in shock when I watch film from the previous week and see myself running around on the field. I watch previous games over and over because it amazes me that that's me out there. It still hasn't sunk in that this is going to be my last home game at Mumford stadium. I still remember the first time I played in Mumford stadium against Mississippi Valley State last season. We lost that game so it wasn't enjoyable, but it was still great to be out there with my teammates. I know this last home game against Clark Atlanta will be an emotional thrill for me and the rest of the seniors because none of us have had a winning season since we have been here and a win in this game will secure us our first winning season. I almost want to freeze time because it's all moving so fast. This game on Saturday is more than a game; it feels more like a graduation, a right of passage.