People always ask me, “Chris, what sport was your first love, football or track?”
So I’ll set the record straight…..
It was basketball.
I actually didn’t even get into football or track until I moved to Willis, Texas at the start of my 5th-grade year. I had just moved from a town that didn’t even have a football program, so I wasn’t really ready to jump right in.
But with the help of my mom and friends, I thankfully got to find my passion quickly.
I found my way with both, winning the state title in the 400 and becoming a nationally ranked recruit in football, but I fell in love with them for completely different reasons.
With football, it was always about the team, constantly thinking how I could help our guys get better and to win.
And with track and field, it was really different.
I had my own job to worry about, apart from anyone else. Staying in my lane, my main competitor was myself and seven other guys, and that was all I had to worry about.
With two sides, I loved the skills I learned from each sport.
So when it came to picking a University, I knew I wanted an opportunity to continue in both.
I actually still remember getting the call from the Baylor coaches, informing me I was going to be offered. It was one of the happiest days of my life that I can vividly remember.
Baylor was the perfect fit for me. Not too far away in case of family emergencies, but still far enough where I would get to grow as a man and get away from the town I had been in since the fifth grade.
I knew the new scenery would be very good for me.
Plus, they wanted me to come play ball and run track. Baylor had an outstanding offense and a great coach in Clyde Hart for the track team.
Like I said, perfect fit.
But when I got on campus, it was a little bit of a shock at first.
I quickly realized there were some dudes in front of me that could do the same as me if not better!
No longer was I going to be asked to be “Mr. Everything.” I would just need to do my job at an elite level. So with this new reality, our staff and I decided it would be best for my career to redshirt to give me time to develop.
It was a difficult decision at the time, but man, I don’t know where I would be today without it.
With the redshirt, I still had a job though, one that I hadn’t been asked to do before.
I was still going to make the team better, but now it would be by challenging the defense through our scout team instead of making the big plays for our offense.
Each day, I just wanted to challenge myself, getting stronger in the weight room and learning to run better routes. I knew this would be the key to getting both myself and the team better.
I knew as long as I focused on doing my job, and trying to win my 1 on 1’s, it would push that success into the next year when I’d have the opportunity to get on the field and help us win.
And over the past few years, I think that’s what has given me the most success.
Instead of getting caught up with where I was on the depth chart, I just wanted to compete and win my 1 on 1’s against the guy in front of me.
Hopefully by running past him…..
But with all the blessings I’ve received from the game, I’ve had some of my toughest moments there as well.
One of which, was when I tore my ACL last season against Oklahoma.
I honestly didn’t even know what happened at first.
When it happened it felt like a little sprain. I hopped off for one play and came back in to finish the drive and I thought everything was going to be alright.
Well, it wasn’t, and pretty quickly, I realized my season was over once I got my MRI results.
All I could think about was, “what now?” I felt like I let my teammates down.
I was devastated I couldn’t be out there for my guys, and with the news from the doctor, I knew I had a long road in front of me until I could be back contributing.
For a few weeks, I was just in disbelief. I didn’t know how to react.
But there was one thing I did still have, and that was my support system.
Still, to this day, I have the messages and comments that came pouring in from friends, family, and teammates, all letting me know they had my back.
I really can’t describe the love I have for all of those people, but they were a big factor into the process of coming back.
Through their support, I found my motivation to get in the training room and come back stronger than ever, even during the days I didn’t want to.
I couldn’t directly be involved in games or practices, so once again, I leaned on my playing experience. Every day, I had new personal bests to beat, new 1 on 1’s to win.
This time my focus was on getting my mobility and strength back with a trainer, but I still wouldn’t let anything stop me.
This was the one way I knew I could get back to help my team.
So coming back for my last year that I wouldn’t have had if I wasn’t blessed with that redshirt five years ago, I want to leave it all on the field for our guys.
I know I can’t do it myself, and we will need everyone to contribute, so that will start with everyone doing their own job and winning their 1 on 1’s.
If we can do that, pushing each other as hard as possible at an elite level, I can’t wait to see what we can do.
Sic’em and God Bless.
Chris Platt | Contributor
WR, Baylor University