FSU Football: An Absolute Dream #ThankYouFSU

Posted: Thursday, June 25, 2015 by Kratik in
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From leaving the IMG Academy, feeling gutted that I hadn’t made it, to lifting the national championship trophy…it’s been an absolute dream.

You know, at times in life, you take a decision that may be deemed stupid by many and illogical by most, but no matter what anybody says, something within you tells you that you are making the right choice. Well, most – including a part of me...to be precise, my head – thought I was foolish when I rejected a paid sales job in Clearwater to work for FSU Football for free.

To be true, it was against all possible logic and all the knowledge that one could conjure but from experience, I had learned to not think too much, follow my heart, work my socks off and then, observe things working out in the most perfect way possible. After all, I didn’t believe in miracles…I relied on them!

Having worked with the athletes who were preparing for the NFL and NBA Combines at IMG Academy, Bradenton, I had seen how good they were but working with Florida State Football showed me the work that goes into making them that good. It was great seeing how hard not only the players but also the staff worked, and how well the athletes trusted the process.

I would see their work ethic and tell myself that if these guys can manage to get grades in school, work hard to be top-notch athletes, workout in the weight-room, study the film and learn plays, and take care of their lives outside of football, I would be doing them injustice if I didn’t give my all.

I had worked with sport-specific, GPS and performance data for a couple of years previously, so, I knew what the data meant but it was incredible to have a chance to see and work with the data for a sport that I had absolutely no clue about. It’s easy to look at numbers and say, “Well, even though he is the best out of the group and he is having an extremely high max velocity, he is not necessarily working hard,” but for someone, like me, who didn’t know a whole lot about American football, it was about learning what the data meant in relation to football.

That’s when my immediate boss, FSU Football's head strength and conditioning coach, Vic Viloria, really helped me. He made sure that I learned the sport, which helped me in understanding how the coaches coached, what players of a particular position group did during a certain drill and most importantly, where the GPS numbers were coming from. The only reason why I was at FSU Football was to learn, and gaining knowledge the way I was doing was fantastic. I would wake up every morning, smile and tell myself, “YES! I am going to learn something new today.” It was a brilliant feeling.


As I got more and more familiar with the sport, I was extremely eager to communicate whatever I could gather from the GPS data. At times, I might have even been a touch irritating, but I will always be grateful to coach Vic who gave me his time and heard whatever I had to say. It’s one thing to hear what someone is saying, it’s another to trust them with what they are telling you. You know, it’s great to have mentors, teachers and people who can groom you, it’s even better when he is your own boss.

Watching my first few games from the sidelines was some experience even though I didn't understand it a whole lot. My motto was to follow the others. If people were shouting, shout. If everyone was quiet, don't speak. If you see others pump up the crowd, pump up the crowd. Just follow. Lol. And trust me, that helped. A few more games in, and after attending many more practices and watching film, I began to understand the sport better.

It was also overwhelming to see exactly all the stuff that went on during the game and the number of people that were involved. It was astonishing to see that everybody – the strength coaches, the athletic trainers, the team doctors, the recruiting staff, the nutritionists, the video guys, the equipment managers, mental conditioning coaches, the team chaplain, the FSU police, the marching band and most importantly, the football coaching staff – had a role on the sidelines. I was amazed at how good of a piece of management that was.


The concept of having some of the coaches in a box upstairs and not on the field, monitoring every opposition play and communicating the information to the coaches on the field, seemed absolutely brilliant. I don’t know why other sports like soccer don’t use this system. Just imagine, Ryan Giggs in the box monitoring every change in opposition formation, every second and communicating information to Louis Van Gaal, who would ultimately decide on whether he has to tinker with United’s formation or the style of play. It would be brilliant.

The 2013 unfolded and we won the national championship. After the victory, I still remember running on the Rose Bowl field with my arms outstretched, Van-Nistelrooy-style, and jumping up and down to every song that the marching band played. It was fantastic. That feeling was of being on the top of the world and all the snapchats that I received told me that the whole of Nole Nation was feeling the same.

                    
        


As we got back to Tallahassee, there were thousands of people waiting for us to return home. As a little kid, I remember waiting for hours for the Indian cricket team to arrive and here I was, with Florida State, on the other side. You know, it’s moments like this when you realize that you are a part of something absolutely huge, something that is much, much bigger than you. For letting me experience what I experienced, I will always be grateful to Florida State Football.



A couple of weeks on and our head coach, Jimbo Fisher, called me into his office and told me that FSU Football were interested in offering me a full-time job and will also file for my H1B Visa. It was one of the best feelings ever! After speaking to him, a very teary me ran down the stairs and sprinted outside the building doing the Danny Welbeck celebration! That moment, just that…that’s what priceless moments are like! That moment, I knew I had won for the little boy who lives inside of me and who who dares to dream! It was incredible.

So, here I was! After a few months of rejecting a paid sales job in Clearwater to work for FSU Football for free to have a shot at the United dream, I had a job which I loved, working with people whom I considered to be a blessing and a sponsor for my Visa that was the collegiate national champions of America. I have always said that I rely on miracles and that was a miracle. God showered his grace in the most unexpected way.

Money motivates some people but dreams motivate me. I came to America to make my dream a reality and at times, you have to take a little risk to make the impossible dream possible. I did and God made sure that I stayed on the path.

The 2014/2015 season was crazy. Coming back to win so many in the way we did was awesome. It was like experiencing Manchester United during the 2012/2013 season all over again, but this time from the sidelines. Now that I look back at it, it must have taken the players and the coaches some phenomenal spirit to rally and finish every game the way they did. The Doak Campbell Stadium rocked during every game and you could sense an enormous togetherness among fans.


 I still remember the game against Clemson when, with a few minutes to go, the fans at Doak started singing ‘I believe that we can win’, a chant that reverberated around USMNT 2014 FIFA World Cup campaign…it was brilliant. Even though we were down by a touchdown, you could sense in the air that something special would happen and we would win. Then, Sean threw that long pass to Rashad and we got on level terms, before Karlos scored to win it for us in extra time. Coach Fisher’s pregame team talk during that game was one that I will never forget. I still remember when he told the team that they had worked too hard to be there and not enjoy that moment. It’s something that I consider as a life lesson…it’s really important to enjoy every moment, especially, when you have worked hard for it.

2014/2015 was a great season and the next one is going to be a superb one as well because FSU Football has that man, Jimbo Fisher. I have worked under/with some very good coaches in various sports, both in India and in Singapore, and coach Fisher is the best of the lot. He is also an incredible person and someone whom I will always be indebted to for the rest of my life for believing in me and having me as a part of the Florida State family.


I came to Tallahassee with dreams but what I am leaving behind is a family. Even in my wildest of dreams, I couldn’t have ever imagined that it would pan out this well. Working with a brilliant staff and phenomenal athletes, who were responsible for winning two ACC championships and a national title in the past two years, it’s been an absolute dream. Time to chase that United dream now.


Do you believe in miracles? I rely on them.

A special thanks to the strength staff (coach Vic, coach Red, coach Derek, Ben, coach Louis, coach Brice and Richie), coach Jon Jost and coach Caitlin Quinn for their continuous support, the athletic trainers (Jake, Jerry, Jeronimo, Julie, Jason, Remy, Madeline and team), the nutritionists (Ms. Katie, Paula, Morgan, Beth, Blair, Jen and Lauren), the recruiting team (Mr. Bob, Christian, Matt, Paul and their team), Mr. Clint Purvis, Mr. Mario Edwards Sr., Mike Warren, the assistant coaching staff (Matt, Miles, Chris Rev, Kurt, Bert, Bright, Addison, Glauser, Spurlock, Jamie, Becker, Shlemon, coach B, Jeremiah, Stone, Priest), the assistants (Ms. Joy, Ms. Daphne, Ms. Nicole, Logan, Carson, Ms. Carol), the video guys (Cody, Matt, Kevin, Campo and team), Lt. Maloy, Lt. Bagnardi, Zach Stipe, the equipment managers, Mr. Mark Robinson, Mr. Monk Bonasorte, the position coaches (coach Haggins, coach Trickett, coach Sal, coach Graham, coach Sanders, coach Dawsey, coach Brewster, coach Kelly and coach Miller), and to our head coach, Mr. Jimbo Fisher, for helping me live the dream.

Erin, Paul, Mikey, Jim, Kat, Brittany, Steve and Samantha Spiers, Alicia, Ryan Pham, Marco, Shuai, Miao, Eric, Gary, Carlton, Christian, Kristin, Max Christiansen, Rikki Lee, Andrew Young, Smay, JJ, Mike, Nick Downey, Parker, TJ, Yue Ji, Chris Mcloed, Sara, Kristin Smith, Karly Gilchrist, Shirley, Hailan, Kosuke, Jack, Rob, and everyone else...you guys are legends and I love you all!

Once a student, then an employee, Nole forever!

- Kratik Malhotra

3 comments:

  1. You're the man Kratik! It has been a pleasure getting to know you my friend

  1. Hemul says:

    Thank you for always sharing your experience :)
    Words have the power to touch lives and your words have always done so for me. Your posts come at the times when I am seeking for some answer !!
    Keep writing :)

  1. J Beech says:

    Kratik you always have family here in Tallahassee. You are and always will be a special part of our lives!

    God,Bless,
    Joy


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