May 10, 2013 by Colin Camp in Opinion with 27 comments
I have a unique outlook on the Callahan Award this year: I have been teammates of all five of the leading Callahan candidates. I played with Tyler DeGirolamo and Will Driscoll for 15 games, Jimmy Mickle and Dylan Freechild for 30 games, and Brian Hart for over 100. I think I can safely say that I have more combined knowledge of these five athletes on and off the field than anyone else in the entire country. I’m writing this piece to give a star the credit he deserves. In my personal opinion, Hart is the most deserving of the Callahan Award in 2013.
Let me first say that I greatly respect each of the five candidates. They are all outstanding players that have had a huge positive impact on their college and club teams. More importantly, they are all great people. I have shared part of what has been the best two years of my life with all of them, and they have all made an impact on my life both on and off the field. Often in the heat of competition, it is easy to see the worst in people. Let me be the first one to tell you that each of these candidates are good people.
But Hart stands alone. As our coach Hector Valdivia explained in his essay, Brian Hart embodies what the Callahan award is all about. He is a great player who plays the game the way it should be played, with respect and integrity. He never disrespects an opponent, and I cannot remember the last call he made that someone disagreed with.
He is also a great teammate. Last season, we were driving back from a tournament when one of our teammates had their car breakdown two hours outside of Madison. Despite already being in bed and having a 9:00 AM class in the morning, Hart was the first to volunteer to pick them up. Personally, I think Brian displays the spirit of the game both as a player and a teammate better than anyone.
In response, many people have said other candidates are more skilled. Well, if you want it to be an MVP award like in the NBA or NFL, I still think Hart is your man. Consider the professional sports for a moment: in the past decade of the NBA, the MVP has gone to the best player on the best team: LeBron, Kobe, D Rose, Tim Duncan, etc. In the NFL, the MVP is a quarterback-dominated award.
Hart is both the best player and the quarterback of arguably the best team in the country. In my mind, part of your skill is your team’s success. Only one of the other candidates has ever made it to the finals of the College Championships. Brian has been a big reason why we have been there twice. If you disagree, watch our semifinal game against Oregon from last year.
I do think all of the top candidates deserve to be part of the short list for the Callahan award. But in a day and age where popularity is gained through things like U-19s and the NexGen Tour, people often overlook those who have not had those opportunities. Brian Hart is a star and embodies everything that a Callahan Award winner should, and that’s why I believe he is the most deserving of the 2013 Callahan Award.
If you have an essay in support of a Callahan award nominee, submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.