Oct. 20, 2010
As a two-sport standout at Atlanta High School in Texas, Roosevelt Falls came to Louisiana Tech to find himself.
Spending time as a special teams contributor, fullback and now running back, Falls admits that his time at Tech has flown by. However, it has given him a perspective on what life ultimately holds - a future outside of football.
"I am just trying to get on the field and do the things that I can to be successful in football as well as in life," said Falls. "Football has a lot to do with life as it reflects a lot about your views on life. How you play on the field is how you play in life."
During his freshman season at Tech, Falls saw action in all 12 games as a member of the special teams unit. In his sophomore campaign the Atlanta, Texas native played in three games before missing 10 games due to injury.
Returning from injury in 2009, Falls spent time primarily as a special teams player before seeing regular action at fullback. Against conference-foe Utah State last year, Falls caught two passes for 32 yards before suffering a season-ending injury following a 29-yard reception against the Aggies.
"I felt like I let me team down; that is what hurt the most," said Falls. "Coach Dooley was depending on me to make plays at that point in the season. When I went down it really took a lot out of me. It just took mentally disciplining myself to do what I had to do to get back on the field and be the best that I could be to help my team."
While rehabilitating his injury, Falls never questioned why he was injury prone. Instead, he acknowledges that everything in life has a purpose.
"I know everything has to work out for my good because I believe in the Creator of me and the Creator of this universe," said Falls. "I believe in Him and trust in Him. I know that He is going to make a way regardless of what happens."
For Falls, it's not about blocks or the yards gained on the field. It's about the yards gained off of the field.
"I always have to squeeze time in for God. I always have to go to church and that is the most important thing," said Falls. "That is the thing that has been keeping me together while I've been here - my relationship with God. That's the only thing."
"With Roosevelt you have to understand that he is a spiritual man," said Louisiana Tech running backs coach Pierre Ingram. "He has had a lot of situations where a lot of people might have just pulled the plug, but he found guidance in a place where a lot of people need to look. He kept motivating himself. Every injury that he has had he has bounced back from it and performed. His faith pushes him through it."
As the son of a preacher, Falls believed that in order to find God, he had to do it on his own terms. He had to experience God for himself, rather than someone telling him what it was like.
"I remember one day I was just sitting down on my bed, and I was just reading my bible. All of the sudden I just started feeling something moving through me as I was reading, and I just broke down and started crying," said Falls.
"I'm a big man and probably someone that people would look at and say that he doesn't cry. I broke down, and I just started crying because I was talking with God. It was the most amazing thing in my life to just feel his love. Any chance and opportunity that I get, I am just trying to share that. No matter what happens in life, I know that everything will work out for the good."
As a senior and a mature 21-year old, Falls has used his experiences both on and off the field to lead by example while sharing his faith.
Often writing poetry, music and participating with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) as a means to share his faith, his teammates and coaches have taken notice.
"You'd be surprised at how many things football players really deal with. We don't really talk to a lot of people about the things that are going on in our life," said Falls. "I sit in my locker sometimes and just ready my bible because I really just want to get this in my heart and help others know what He has to offer."
Falls' discipline and strong moral fabric has echoed the theme that there is more to life than just football.
"I think he gives (the younger) student-athletes on the team the notion that everything is real," said Ingram. "In the end there is a concept of not playing football anymore. You have to balance yourself as a human and as a man."
Special teams coach Mark Tommerdahl agrees.
"This game helps you mature. It helps you discipline yourself and allows you to understand what it is like to be part of a team and work with others," said Tommerdahl. "I think he is a good example of a guy that has stuck it out. He has been through a lot of changes here during his career, and I think he has really seen the benefits of going all out with the role he is given."
With ministry on his mind and faith in his heart, Falls is just enjoying his last few games as a student-athlete prior to stepping into the real world.
"My time at Tech has been so short. The four years went by so fast, and it feels like I just started yesterday," said Falls. "It's been an amazing journey that has had ups and downs just like anything in life. However, at the end of the day, I wouldn't trade it for anything."