Walker Brittain CFNN Football Reporter
Kicking a football through the uprights is hard, but is everything that comes with being a kicker just as difficult? What is life as a kicker actually like?
“It has its challenges along the way,” said senior kicker Mason Smith, commenting on what it is like to be the Cape Fear Colts’ go-to kicker. “It’s a lot of mental effort to be a kicker because you don’t get a lot of glory.”
The kickers who do their jobs well never stand out.
“If you do your job right you don’t get recognition but if you do it wrong you get a lot of hate,” Smith stated. “It’s really hard mentally. When you miss big kicks, you get a lot of hate. As time goes on people start making jokes about it. It’s something I struggle with and have to face everyday.”
Smith felt most of this hostility after the game against New Hanover High School in the 3rd round of the state playoffs in 2017. The pressure was put on the sophomore at the end to tie the game. He missed it wide left.
That game was the last time Aaron Lewis, Chris Matthews, and Justice Galloway Velazquez wore a Colt uniform. Smith was just a sophomore.
“Chris Matthews was one of those guys that no matter what he had your back,” said Smith. “He was such a great teammate. He was a great leader. He was always the first person to go up and introduce himself to the new freshmen.”
Smith said his friends on the soccer team still make fun of him by saying wide left when he misses a shot, but he doesn’t let that get him down.
“I have always been around football and I love soccer. So it’s kind of like a happy medium,” said Smith. “It’s a lot of wear and tear on my body, and especially on my leg and hips.”
Smith is the only person on the Cape Fear football team who is actively involved in another sport during the fall season. Specifically soccer.
So, how hard is it to kick a football?
“Actually, kicking is just muscle memory,” Smith explains. “Kicking the ball the same way over and over so you know where it is going to go.”
Smith stressed that everything that comes with being a kicker is actually much harder than the kicking itself.
“Kicking comes with hate and people saying he missed this kick and that kick,” said Smith. “But I love kicking, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”
So, despite the slings and arrows of critics, Mason Smith just keeps on kicking, trying to put it between the uprights.