Embracing the Process

By Sean Dykes

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

This series is brought to you by United Dairy Industry of Michigan.

I’ve been in Memphis for a while.

Since 2016 to be exact.

During that time, I’ve grown so much as a player and a person. I’ve gone from a young teenage wide receiver to an adult tight end. Now, as a super senior, I’m so excited about finishing up my final year as a Tiger and reaching for the stars with my teammates.

Thank you, Dad

I wouldn’t be the person I am today, the man I am today, if it wasn’t for my Dad. He guided me every step of the way, not just in football, but in life. He always supported me and gave me the advice I needed to hear.

I’ve been playing contact football since I was eight years old, and I pretty much took it seriously from the start. Playing every weekend, watching tape, working on my technique — that’s all thanks to my Dad being there with me every step of the way, making sure my goals were matching my actions.

A lot of people don’t know this, but I was a pretty good basketball player, too. I was a two-sport athlete in high school and was conflicted about which sport I should focus on more. My father helped guide me and told me that my body and personality were better suited for the football field.

It was a tough decision, but once I made it, there was no looking back. I stopped playing AAU and focused one hundred percent on football.

Today, I can easily say it was the best decision I ever made, man.

And it’s all thanks to my Dad.

Memphis moments

Once it was time to pick a school for my college career, choosing Memphis was easy.

But excelling in Memphis was hard.

I came in as a wide receiver and was quickly transitioned into the tight end position.

Suddenly, I’m lining up and had to block guys twice my size!

I didn’t come here to do that, you know?!

I had to adjust and grow. Fast. I went from a star football player to a bottom-of-the-depth-chart freshman.

It was hard and humbling, to be honest.

At the time, the concept of blocking was new to me. I never had to do it before. So, it took a massive amount of work to get in the groove of things.

Today, I’m glad I listened to our coaching staff — after all, they know what they’re talking about. I simply had to trust them.

Besides, at the end of the day, I was determined to do whatever Memphis needed me to do.

That’s what football is all about, you know? Everyone sacrifices a part of themselves for the betterment of the team. Everyone contributes so we can do something greater together than what we could do alone.

When I was a freshman, for example, I remember our game against Navy quite vividly. We lost the game, which was disappointing, but I got a chance to start, made a few big catches, and blocked decently, too. That was such an instrumental moment for me as it felt like I finally belonged. It gave me a lot of confidence which helped us in the long run.

It’s all about the process and journey.

And in 2019, this process led us to a conference championship.

And I hope we can repeat that accomplishment this year.

That's what football is all about, you know? Everyone sacrifices a part of themselves for the betterment of the team. Everyone contributes so we can do something greater together than what we could do alone.

Hunger for more

Speaking of accomplishments, the other day, I found out I’m the all-time leading receiving TE in Memphis history. It’s a great honor, no doubt.

But here is the thing. To me, accomplishments or awards are simply steps.

Steps towards a bigger goal. A bigger dream.

I’m proud of taking those steps, don’t get me wrong, but there is more I’m shooting for, and I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds.

But for now, all my focus is on this season and battling for another conference title.

And honestly, that’s why I came back to Memphis for year five. Last year left a sour taste in my mouth. The world wasn’t in a good place, and everything kind of snowballed from there.

The season was okay, but I didn’t feel like we maxed out our potential.

After talking with my coaches, we devised a game plan for my senior year to get the most out of my time left in Memphis, and I decided it’d be best if I came back and finished things the way I wanted to.

So far, we are off to a good start.

But we have room to improve. We have a nice mix of young and old players, and I’m excited to see where this season takes us.

Without doubt, however, the best is yet to come!