Quarterback getting mentally ready for year

When you become part of a historic football program, such as the one at Miami Northwestern Senior High School, you have to live up to that hype that is created. Sophomore quarterback E.J. Hilliard experienced the hype at Northwestern first hand.

“Any person that is familiar with the Miami Northwestern football program knows that you have to be great and deal with a large amount of pressure while playing there. There is history to live up to,”Hilliard said. “There are always guys who came before you that paved the way and were top notch athletes. That only makes it harder for you as an individual because you have something to live up to. You only go there to try and live up to the hype and take on the challenge of trying to be better than the guys that came before you.”

Hilliard and Teddy Bridgewater, his former teammate at Northwestern and currently at University of Louisville, came up with a solution to remedy the high expectations that come with being the man behind center at Northwestern. The duo came up with an acronym that would help them while on the field and while experiencing hardships in everyday life. They came up with “G.U.M.P,” which stands for “Great Under Major Pressure.”

“Teddy and I took time to remember the great job that our parents did raising us and guiding us on to the right path as young teenagers in an environment filled with negative pressure, violence, and paths you don’t want to go down because there are ones that do not lead to success,” Hilliard said. “Knowing that my father walked the path before me, being a football player from the inner city who had the ability to manage staying on the right path throughout high school and Teddy’s mother being a strong individual woman who battled breast cancer really helped us initiate the idea.”

Why, though, did Hilliard and his former teammate Bridgewater take on the creation of a new term of life?

“We took on the responsibility and burden of term because we were the QBs, the leaders of our football team. Guys looked upon us to lead them, to come through when it counted the most and to bail them out of situations that were presented,” Hilliard said. “Our parents are actually the initiators, caretakers and inspirations of the term that we coined.”

Hilliard went on to add that when a person has the ability to get through an adverse situation, it has the chance to give whatever person gets through it an almost euphoric sensation.

“I take pride in it and what it stands for, I want this to be a brand and an inspiration for all student athletes. Not even just athletes but anybody that had or currently has challenges or obstacles that they are currently facing or just has any little bit of adversity in their life,” Hilliard said. “We all want to be great, we all want to be the best we can be, because honestly we all face adversity and we will forever face challenges and obstacles in our lives.”

About the Author

Rhys Williams
: Sports Director, Class of 2016, Physical Education: Coaching (Major), Communication Arts (Minor), Sports Enthusiast with a Focus on Football and Track & Field.

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