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6The Tar Heel Thursday. July 24, 1986
XJNC linebacker finds God on the football field
By BONNIE BISHOP.
In the eyes of many people,
t oot ball players are empty-headed
jocks who think they are the best
things on earth. Most anyone who
understands the game of football or
who personally knows a football
player, quickly discredits this
The game of football is a game
of strategy that takes much practice
and mental preparation to do well.
While there are some cocky football
players, they are the exception to the
rule. Unfortunately, they tend to
thrive on publicity and attention, so
they are the players on whom people
base their opinions.
It is refreshing to find someone -who
prefers to stay away from the
publicity and who proves the fact that
football players are people before
they are football players. Brett M.
Rudolph is such a person.
Rudolph is a junior journalism
major from Chagrin Falls. Ohio. He
is also a linebacker for the Tar Heel
Football players, as with most
athletes in today's society, often find
themselves in the public eye. some
more than others. Rudolph said that
he personally does not like publicity.
"A lot of guys thrive on it. but I
feel better without it." he said. "It
is easier to keep things in focus."
A problem with too much public
ity. Rudolph said, is that people begin
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to tell players they are better tharv
they actually are. so it becomes
difficult for them not to think that
w ay also. "But I guess people do need
to hear what motivates us." he added.
What has motivated him enough
to have played ever since the third
"My motivation has changed over
the years." he said. "Before, 1 played
more or less for myself. Now, I'm
seeing the importance of playing for
God. Spiritually, football is a way
to come closer to my beliefs. God
gave me the ability to play football
and by playing, I am glorifying him."
One of the hardest things for
Rudolph to deal with in coming here
was being this far away from home.
He said it was difficult for him at
first to adjust to going out on the
field and not being able to pick out
one familiar face in the crowd. Had
he gone closer to home, his family
and friends would have been able to
attend his games.
"Everyone likes to have someone
cheering for him," he said.
Despite the fact that it is a 10-hour
drive one way from his home, his
parents were able to attend seven of
his games last year and will probably
make it to all of his games this year.
Although he could have gone to
a university closer to home, going
south had always been a priority for
him. something for which he really
has no explanation.
After hearing about the University
from a friend and making an official
visit his senior year, he was hooked.
"I just had this gut feeling that this
place was for me," he recalls.
He said that he had no regrets with
the decision to come here. The
school, the friends he has made
everything in general has made
it worth it for him, he said.
The transition from high school to
college was not a big problem for
Rudolph. Being red-shirted gave him
time to adjust to academics and the
added pressure of football.
Red-shirting is a practice that gives
a player an extra year in school by
not playing in any games during a
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given season. It has become policy
of many universities to red-shirt
freshmen, allowing them a year of
school before they compete intercol
legiately. A player is allowed only one
"For me, red-shirting was a good
thing because I wasn't ready to play,"
he said. "I didn't have that added
pressure to compete for a starting
In order to be successful, football
players have to learn to be disci
plined. They are expected to juggle
everything other college students are
asked to do and add to that the
responsibilities of football.
Rudolph said, "The biggest pres
sure of coming here was the time
commitment: it hurts academically
and socially. Because of that com
mitment, it takes twice as long to fit
in. I feel like I belong finally after
a while the commitment to football
becomes second nature."
He looks at football as helping him
prepare for the future. "The whole
idea of competition is relevant to life.
It helps you prepare for down the
What does lie down the road for
As a public relations sequence
journalism major, he feels that he will
have many options. Because of the
education he will receive here, he is
confident that something will come
up. Rudolph wants to keep his
options open. Does that mean a
possibility of professional football
He isn't sure. He said that the last
two years have shown him how hard
football can be on the body, and
professional football, with at least a
16 game schedule, would be even
"Living healthy the rest of my life
is a priority," he said. "But it would
be hard to pass up. As far as I'm
concerned, that is in the Lord's
He has two more years before he
has to make that decision, but it is
obvious that when that time comes,
he will have many options.
Rudolph agreed that he derived his
self-esteem from football. He has a
goal to be among the best of line- -backers.
Although he doesn't have a
specific goal to be All-Atlantic Coast
Conference or Ail-American, he said
that such an award would be a
definite indication that he was among
the best at his position
He also has strong feelings about
the team's goals of winning and
making it to a bowl game this year.
"There is not a better feeling than
when we win," he commented. This
feeling is conveyed in what he
considers to be the highlight of his
career this past season's game
"The team as a whole came
together and everything seemed
worth it," he recalls.
When he has a break from foot
ball, Rudolph enjoys music, playing
golf and going to the beach. He is
also involved in a Bible study with
other team members.
from page 1
Epps' opposition to nuclear power
goes back to the near meltdown at
the Three Mile Island nuclear power
plant. He was a reporter with The
Washington Post and remembers
covering the methods used to deter
mine how dangerous the plants are.
"The risks of these things have
been grossly underestimated," he
said, stressing that the literature
written by nuclear power supporters
justifies his contention. He explained
that even supporters say that plants
should be build in unpopulated areas.
"You shouldn't build them 25 miles
from major metropolitan areas."
He said that little changed at
American nuclear power plants after
Three Mile Island, and that similar
or worse disasters could happen
Edgerton has fought Shearon
Harris since 1 978. "I talked to my
grandfather. He was born in 1 865.
When I told him I'd be living amidst
claxons on top of poles that could
tell me to evacuate, he said that was
absurd. It's hard for me to think
about my daughter being evacuated
to one place and me not being able
to find her."
Edgerton feels that alternative
sources of energy should be adopted,
and that energy conservation hasn't
received the attention it deserves.
The writers praised Kornberg for
his efforts in organizing the reading.
Smith spoke for many when she said,
"It shows his community involve
ment. So many businesses in Chapel
Hill have no involvement. His gener
osity and commitment are
, i l . i i t r