SEMESTER SERIES: KIRK SMITH – FOOTBALL ISN’T JUST A GAME; IT’S A WAY OF LIFE

Those words couldn’t be more true in the South, especially Atlanta. Group meetings are frequently altered to accommodate college and professional football schedules. Students participate in fantasy football leagues with professors…for credit. All of this enthusiasm for AMERICAN football (sorry, soccer fans; it’s just the way we talk here) translates into many social activities such as tailgates, viewing parties, Sunday Funday. What I have enjoyed at Goizueta, however, is the opportunity to take the field with my classmates to compete in intramural football. Running around on a cool evening helps break up your days, and nights, of studying.

I won’t lie. The first couple games were ROUGH. There are many rules now in place to protect all of the athletes from injuring themselves or others.  But once you figure out the rules, and how to play with people you’ve just met a few months ago, you can have a great time. While our men’s team struggled, the Co-Rec team not only played well, but also made the play offs as a #2 seed! By far the best part about playing football is seeing all of my international classmates come out. Some of them had never seen football before, let alone played it. But that didn’t stop them from stepping out on the field and contributing to a team effort. One of them, Jack, was even the MVP of the last game of the regular season! He’s the guy towering over everybody in the back of the picture. As a result of his outstanding contributions, several of us now refer to him as the “Beast from the East.”

Tying in football to business school isn’t difficult. At business school, you are completely surrounded by Type A, driven, successful, motivated people. They have worked hard to achieve where they are in life. The personality required to accomplish amazing feats naturally creates a level of competition. Whether that is in the classroom or in the pursuit of a new career, it is difficult to break the habit of competing with those around you.  What I have become to appreciate at Goizueta is that everybody is willing to help each other succeed, even if they are applying for the same position. I had no second thoughts about prepping one of my classmates for an interview at a national conference knowing that she was applying for the exact same position. Just like my classmate who told me the questions he received in an interview that morning when I was interviewing later in the afternoon. That sense of community, that teamwork, makes the constant presence of “competition” seem normal and something to be embraced, rather than stressed about on a daily basis. We were told during the Admissions process that 100% of us will receive internships, and the best way we can do that is supporting each other no matter the contest.

Despite this level of competition, it doesn’t mean that you have to let it consume you all the time. Case in point, check out this guy looking like an idiot in the middle of a football game.