The Achievement of Good Work

By Blake Watson

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I’ve been playing football since I was six years old, and nothing compares to walking onto the field at Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium in front of the Memphis faithful, representing this hard-working, blue-collar town. 

We are the definition of a community. 

Getting to represent this town and the culture that embodies it has been the honor and privilege of my life.

The early days

Football wasn’t a love-at-first-sight kind of thing for me.

As a kid, I was all about baseball. 

It’s all I ever wanted to do. 

It wasn’t until I was about six years old that something started to click with football. I started watching more and more games on TV, especially the New York Giants when they were winning Super Bowls with Eli Manning. 

And having my older brother, who went on to play college football at Wake Forest, inspired me even more. 

I saw what he was achieving, and I wanted to do the same.

I became a sponge for football, absorbing as much as I could.

And when I made the Elmont Cardinals team in Queens, New York, it felt like the start of something special.

The rest, as they say, is history. 

My brother

Without a doubt, my older brother has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been my biggest fan, my biggest critic, and my biggest supporter.

We’ve had our fair share of sibling rivalries and always competed to see who could do things better — even silly stuff like who could walk faster to the end of the street.

Everything was a competition with winners and losers, and a chance at redemption was only a moment away.

On the outside, looking in, it may have seemed odd or a bit much, but that fire in our bellies has allowed both of us to continue reaching new heights and breaking down barriers.

Most importantly, everything we did — and still do — came from a place of love and respect.

My brother was always there to support me and push me to be the best version of myself, and I’m beyond grateful for that.

Why Memphis?

Just like my journey to find football started elsewhere, my collegiate life did not begin in Memphis either.

I kicked off my college career at Old Dominion and was so proud of myself for making it to college and playing at that level, just like my brother did.

However, after completing my four years at ODU, I felt like I needed a new challenge.

I wasn’t quite done with college football, you know?

And I wanted to find that next level, which led me right here to Memphis.

I have a saying I go by: “The achievement of good work is more work.”

So, while my “work” at ODU was good, it also opened up a new door to “more work,” and I wasn’t going to let this opportunity slip.

Memphis had everything I was looking for. The culture, the vibes, the people — everybody was great on my visit, and the list of running backs that came out of here is legendary.

I just couldn’t say no to being a part of that lineage.

I have so much to give the Tigers, and for all the blood, sweat, and tears I put in, the university and the community give it all right back to me.

Memphis had everything I was looking for. The culture, the vibes, the people — everybody was great on my visit, and the list of running backs that came out of here is legendary. I just couldn't say no to being a part of that lineage.

Job not done

Our season is off to a good start, and we are determined to keep our momentum.

We are definitely shooting for a conference championship and a bowl sport. Nothing else matters.

For me, it’s all about keeping my head down and staying focused day in and day out on the task at hand. If I do that, and my teammates do that, the rest will take care of itself.

My time here in Memphis won’t be long, unfortunately, but it’s not about the length — it’s about the quality.

I’ve been welcomed as a Tiger with open arms, and I just feel blessed to be a part of this historic university.

I don’t often let myself think about the future because I don’t want to miss the present, but to be honest, it’s been on my mind lately.

I know the end is near and if I do my job here at Memphis well, I know I might have a shot at the NFL.

That’s always been the dream, the biggest goal.

My brother always taught me to dream big and never settle.

I haven’t budged on this goal since I’ve had it, and I won’t quit now.

I didn’t come this far just to get this far. I want to make Memphis proud, and when the day comes that I make it into the league, I can’t wait for them to introduce me as “Blake Watson, running back from The University of Memphis.”