I consider myself to be a casual sports fan. I don’t know the names and birthplaces of every player of every professional sports league to ever exist, but I do tune in whenever my favorite teams are playing, and I keep up with their standings. I also played a couple sports in high school, so I’m not a complete idiot when it comes to all the lingo and rules. By no means am I an expert, I have little credentials to talk about sports in any respectable way, but I do feel qualified enough to say that I believe there are positions on sports teams that are under-appreciated.
Most sports have a head player who is the face of the team. For baseball and softball, it’s the pitcher. For basketball, it’s the point guard. And for football, it’s the quarterback. These positions do a lot for the game and winning wouldn’t be possible without them. However, I do believe they take credit and glory away from other positions that deserve the same amount of respect and admiration. Jake Moody, the kicker for Michigan’s football team, is a perfect example of this. So Jake, this one is dedicated to you.
Moody was the hero of the Big 10 contest between Michigan and Wisconsin during week six; he made two field goals in the last three minutes of the game to win it for the Wolverines, continuing their undefeated record. But his importance goes far beyond this clutch game situation. So far this season, Moody has made 14 out of his attempted 16 field goals, with 52 yards being his longest. Additionally, he has made all 28 extra-point attempts. That adds up to 70 total points that Moody earned for the Wolverines so far this season. Holy Harbough, that’s impressive.
What’s that? You think that Jake sounds like a cool guy and you want to know more about him? Well, look no further. Jake is from Northville, a small town not too far from Ann Arbor. He, like many of us, grew up in a divided house: he and his dad were always big Michigan fans, but his mom and sister rooted for MSU (imagine that). Jake says that he grew up with the goal of being the best kicker in the game. To help make that goal a reality, he worked with Matt Prater, placekicker for the Arizona Cardinals, for the past two summers. Matt Prater is not only one of the best kickers in the NFL, but he is also Moody’s personal hero. Working with Matt Prater, Moody said, helped him learn a lot, and it turns out Prater is a really nice and cool person—it must be a trait common amongst kickers.
As of October 2022, Moody is a senior at Michigan, and boy will it be sad to see him go. Hey now, enough with the long faces, he isn’t gone yet. But wow has he had a great career at Michigan so far. Moody says that his greatest memory playing at Michigan was his freshman year when he broke the Big 10 record for most field goals made in a single game. He didn’t even know he was going to be kicking until five minutes before kickoff. “It was a dream come true,” he said.
There are many rules in the game of football. Most of them are reasonable. Some of them are inconvenient. One rule that Moody says he would add to the game is what happens when a kickoff goes through the goal post. That’s a really far kick, in case you didn’t know. Moody said he would change the rules so that when this happens, the kicking team gets a point. That sounds pretty reasonable if you ask me. NCAA, get on that.
It’s clear that Jake Moody is a great athlete. In addition to kicking game-winning field goals, he can also apparently hit bombs in baseball, but his value and importance go far beyond any amount of points he can rack up. Jake is special because he has the power to inspire others. Whether someone is a young aspiring athlete, or a future neurosurgeon, Jake Moody’s advice rings true: find something that motivates you. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it lights a fire in you. Find that something, and don’t stop until you’ve reached everything you ever dreamt of and more.