Football players gear up for the real life as adults, parents

FIU Football HelmetPhoto by PantherNOW

Jasmine Casimir & Peter Holland Jr. // Asst. Sports Directors

Being a student athlete is never an easy task, especially for the football players who participate in practices, team meetings, film studies and going to class every week.  Now, if you add being a father into the mix, that’s the life of some FIU players.

Running back Alfonso Randolph was 15 years old when he heard the news that his girlfriend was pregnant.

“I kind of knew because every situation when a woman is pregnant, they alway throw hints at you,” said Randolph.

After the 21-year-old junior told his father, they kept it a secret from his mother for two weeks. His girlfriend was two months pregnant at the time, according to the Ocala native.

“With my dad … he went off and whatever,” said Randolph. “Then about a half hour later I’m in my room with my older brother, he comes back laughing.”

Being a parent for five years, Randolph understands the maturity of adulthood and the challenges of raising a son, one who understands technology more than his father did when he was five years old.

“It is harder than you think,” said Randolph. “My son calls me everyday and facetimes me and he’s five. He’s not a baby anymore. As far as balancing, you just have to do it. But it is hard.”

Starting defensive tackle Imarjaye Albury had a different story on the day he heard the news about him being a father. After finishing up his morning workouts, he received a phone call from his girlfriend of seven years. After finding out, he bought two pregnancy tests to confirm her pregnancy.

“After the second try, she didn’t say that she was pregnant, she just nodded and we just laughed, and it was a good feeling,” said the Miami native.

Now an FIU alumnus, Albury doesn’t have to focus too much on school. He is using his last eligibile year with the NCAA to play football.

According to him, football and his son are his main priorities.    

“School wasn’t a big obstacle,” said Albury. “Football wise, it’s motivation out there. Catch me everyday before I leave and he’s there for me, smiling when I come home.”

Marques Cheeks, a New Orleans native and defensive tackle, received the news after his girlfriend called him through face time. Her facial expression wasn’t what he expected after having a full-course meal.

“That first emotion was like what’s next, what am I going to do,” said Cheeks. “It was shocking, kind of scary and you know it just like dang, I have a baby now and I’m still in school.”

Despite the challenges and responsibilities in becoming a parent and a student athlete, with the love and support of their family and friends, each player made it work and maturity started to set in.

“It just makes me go harder, it makes me want to go way harder,” said Cheeks. “It changed my whole perspective on life period. Now [before] everything I do I think about it because I have a child.”

For each player, already understanding the gifts of life and adulthood while in school, they are looking forward to finishing school for good and working to provide for their families.

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