The following was submitted by Chargers tight end Antonio Gates.
This has been a special week for me, and not just because I tied the franchise record for touchdown catches.
Monday was my “Shop with a Charger” event. My teammates and I went shopping with underprivileged kids at the Walmart by the facility. My feeling is that there is the game of football, and then there is the game of life. These kids see us as heroes, as people who have accomplished things, and what I try to do is have them forget about the negative things in their life and focus on the positive. I want to give them encouragement and hope to always dream big. I want them to look back on their lives years from now and remember they had someone in their corner rooting for them and who was willing to help them out. I wouldn’t be in the same position I am today if it wasn’t for having people like that in my past. So this event is very special to me.
Now on the field, while the last game hurt to lose like we did against the Panthers, it was very emotional for me to tie the franchise record for most touchdown catches with Lance Alworth. It was phenomenal. I got very emotional because I’d been working so hard the last three or four weeks to get that touchdown and tie the record. And with everything we’ve been going through, getting this record came at a time when I really needed something positive. You go through so much, and when things are going badly, you want to cling to some positive reinforcement that you’re doing the right things. Now this milestone is something I will always look back on and think wow, I’ve had a lot of teammates and coaches who have trusted in me and given me the opportunity to accomplish the things I have.
I hope to have a lot of years left in my career, but when I look back at my playing days years from now, I’m going to remember the good times and the bad times. One thing about humans is you remember all the positive moments and years of your life, but you also remember the negative ones too. Now at the end of the day, I will look back at this time period and know that we prepared the best we could and gave it our best. We’ve taken all the necessary steps to be as good as we possibly can be, and that’s all you can ask for. There is such a small percentage of people who actually make it this far to be a professional. It’s hard to get to this level. So even though things aren’t going as planned and I have a bitter taste in my mouth, I still recognize that. And we can’t forget it either, because in order to grow we have to learn from being in this position.
Finally, I want to leave you by thanking you for supporting our team. We lay it on the line every single week not just for ourselves, but for you, the fans, as well. We still want to win football games, and sometimes the perception is that guys don’t care, and want to point out losing badly to Carolina as a sign that guys don’t care. But that’s not the case. Things just didn’t go our way. But we’re still trying as hard as we possibly can. We’re still fighting, and hopefully you guys keep supporting us because we need you at this crucial time. We need you behind us.
Tags: Antonio Gates
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