Driven, determined, and passionate. In an interview with The Varsity, University of Toronto Varsity Blues running back Cole Goodfellow covers ground on his life and what it means to play football.
From being high school MVP to receiving an entrance scholarship to play football for the Varsity Blues, being able to play football means everything to the number 34 Blue. “I feel like football is such a big part of my life now,” Goodfellow explains. Through tough training and maintaining grades, he’s strongly committed to the game he has loved for years. The opportunity to be on the starting lineup shows the kind of athlete he is and that coaches can trust him to execute plays and be a leader on the field.
“For me, [being a starter] doesn’t affect [my performance]. Either way I’ve got to be in the game, either way I need to be physically and mentally prepared to step in anytime,” Goodfellow says.
Thirty-four has always been his number: “it is really significant to me because it resembles Walter Payton and he wasn’t known for his speed, his power or his height or anything like that, he was known for his heart. That’s what I model my game after.”
Having the opportunity to speak one-on-one with him provides insight on how seriously he takes his role on the Blues. Playing football for many is more than just a game; it’s deeper than just win or loss. Athletes like Goodfellow play their sport out of passion.
One of the hardest lessons learnt from the Varsity experience, Goodfellow says, is “probably resilience and patience, to never give up… Know that hard work doesn’t go unrewarded.”
Goodfellow’s passion for football started as a young kid, when he and his brother would dream of someday playing in the Canadian Football League (CFL), making their love for football a full-time profession. “My goal is to get to the CFL, and to show that coming from a small town you can do whatever your dreams and desires ask, to not be limited or stuck in one position.”
His favourite part of being a running back is getting past a defender and then scoring. He feels there is no better feeling than dominating the other player in the role they were supposed to dominate and then scoring to put your team ahead.
The life of a student athlete isn’t all touchdowns and winning plays — “free time goes toward studying, free time goes to sleeping [and] nutrition to be prepared for practice and games.”
As the season draws to a close, the Blues currently sit in 10th place out of 11 OUA teams.
Through the 2017 football season, the Blues have had some tough luck, winning just one of their first six games. However, the team is still poised to come out strong and be prepared for the next challenge.
On September 23, the York Lions reclaimed their victory in the 48th annual Red and Blue Bowl hosted at Alumni Field, ending the Blues’ four-year win streak. Starting running back Kaleb Leach had some strong plays as he made 14 carries for 70 yards, while Goodfellow rushed seven times for 46 yards in the game.
Although the Blues lost their winning streak and title, Goodfellow explains that winning isn’t everything.“I would probably say just to remember why you do the sport. Remember the enjoyment of it. If you lose the enjoyment of it it’s really hard to continue going, it’s really hard to motivate yourself. But if you remember you enjoy it and you love the game then you’ll keep pushing no matter what happens.”
No matter the outcomes of his games, Goodfellow strives for success. “If it’s a loss I’ve got to put in even more work and really push myself and drive myself to be perfect in my craft,” he notes. “It’s not enough to go out there and do what is asked of you, you’ve got to do above and beyond that.”
The Varsity Blues will play their final home game against Queen’s University on October 21 at 1:00 pm.