Looking at the cover of this season’s Alumni Magazine, published by the college every season and distributed to all alumni, made me feel hopeful about my future and my fellow students’ futures. This season Mike Tomlin ’95, an alum of the football team, the coach of the Steelers, and the youngest coach to ever make it to the Super Bowl, took over the cover of the magazine with a picture that resembles that of Shepard Fairey’s “Obama Hope” picture.
This morning I had a photo shoot with Derek Cox ’09, a football player at the college. Being the Photo Editor of the school newspaper, The Flat Hat, means that I had to get a really nice shot of him for an article being published about him. I needed a shot that would show everyone who’s really beneath the William and Mary football helmet. Not only did I get the opportunity to meet Derek, this also gave me the opportunity to pick at his brain about his career at the college and his hopes for the future.
I quickly found out that Derek is currently training, in his last year at the college, to prepare himself for the upcoming NFL draft. Now, I’ve met NFL players before and he was not as tall or big. However, like the NFL players, his stance, his presence, and the way he spoke definitely took my breath away.
I’m not trying to sound like a teacher writing a recommendation letter, however in Derek I saw a bright future. He has developed a lot while in college with a business major, a lot of football training, and the support of his family and friends.
After our short 45 minute photo session, I spent time with someone who has influenced my life forever. Seeing his hope, his strength, and his dedication to becoming an NFL player makes me believe that with the same hope, strength, and dedication that I too can one day become whatever I want.
When looking at the cover of the Alumni Magazine and seeing Mike Tomlin’s face I imagine that one day that same magazine will have a photo of Derek Cox, taken by me.