Sanford Stadium: Field of Dreams

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Sanford Stadium: Field of Dreams
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

It's an unlikely story of two football players who would cross paths and share a bond. A bond born out of understanding, of dreams put on hold, of agonizing pain, of similar paths.

One dream fulfilled, one in the making.

The story starts a few years ago when D.J. Shockley came to Athens, GA. He had talent—talent that could have put him behind center at any SEC school. He could scramble, pass, run, no matter what you asked of him he could do. An all around athlete. An athlete that would soon find his way into the hearts of every Bulldog fan.

Shockley had a career that was summed up by a back up role to the winningest college football QB of all time. A career that came down to one year, one last chance to fulfill a lifetime of dreams.

He didn't leave when he had the chance, he didn't disgrace the team by having a bad attitude, he didn't grow cold, he just kept working hard to ensure when his time came that he would be ready.

He was, he proved that he deserved to be there, he proved that he wanted to win, and he carried thousands of fans and a team of players on his shoulders for a magical season. He opened all of our eyes to the reality that dreams do come true.

Enter Joe Cox. He too must learn what it is like to walk in the shadows behind a much touted Matthew Stafford. He must keep working knowing that he might not get his chance. His heart hurt, his hopes dashed. 

His chance came, if only for a brief moment, in his red-shirt freshman season. The game was Colorado, the dawgs were humbled by a score of 13-0. It wasn't looking good and Stafford was not able, on that day, on that field, to rally the troops.

Joe Cox however, stepped in to the QB role, in the forth quarter, to lead his team to victory. It didn't last though—for three long years he stepped back into the shadows. That is until now, until this year, his senior year. His time has come, a dream in the making.

Two guys, two different moments, two paths that have converged. They text message, talk on the phone, discuss what it takes to win. Discuss what it takes to really make your one chance all you had hoped it would be.

One has fulfilled his dream, while the other is hoping his time comes with a similar result. Shockley knows, he knows what it feels like to be chomped by the gator, and he warns to never be stung by the bee, but most of all he knows what it is to carry the dreams of screaming, emotional fans on your shoulders.

He always knows that they carry him too. He's telling Joe Cox, that no matter what happens, he is leaving his print on a nation of beloved Dawgs.

Somewhere, on some field, some little boy is playing his heart out. He's giving it all he has—blood, sweat, and tears. He has dreams as high as the sky. He will one day come to Athens, GA, stand on the bridge, knowing his time has come.

He'll have his chance to leave his mark on the field of dreams. 

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