Illinois Football Training Camp Blog #9
Aug. 16, 2007
by Cassie Arner, UI Sports Information
I know the team was excited to have Spider back here. At dinner the guys were more rambunctious than normal. But what was really nice to hear is how excited they are to be here with our team. I think we have turned Spider into an Illini fan. He admitted to purchasing a couple of our games this year on DirecTV.
Spider and Tonto brought with them another guest, Alex "Flex" Hampton, who is a former Illinois football player (1995-99). He is currently a Lieutenant stationed at Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach, Va. He graduated from Top Gun in 2006, and was one of only 10 percent of the Navy selected to attend the flight school. He talked about the correlations between the military and football, and how the game of football prepared him for a life in the armed services.
Anyway, right now we are watching night landings of F-14's on aircraft carriers. Some of the landings go well, some of them not so well. Watching videos like puts your life in perspective. When we make mistakes, the worst that can happen is we lose games. When they make mistakes, people lose their lives. The real parallels in these two professions come in the trust factor of your team members. Spider talked a lot about bringing every individual in the team up to the level expected of them. Some pilots are naturals, some scrape by with the minimum requirements. It then becomes the responsibility of those around them to make them the type of pilot that they trust to be their wingmen.
We have two players who are especially into this kind of thing--Kevin Mitchell, who enjoys studying war history and the military, and a new walk-on, fullback Tyler Pacha, who aspires to be a pilot.