Hometown Hero Dominic Rhodes, Heads to Superbowl with the Colts

Hometown Hero Dominic Rhodes, Heads to Superbowl with the Colts

There could not be a more interesting time in the history of Abilene Texas, than to have two former Abilene Independent School District football players head to the Super Bowl, together. Both number thirty-three Running Back, Dominic Rhodes {{more}} and number forty-eight Snapper Justin Snow are on their way to the 2007 Super Bowl in Miami Florida to play against the Chicago Bears. Snow has held a football camp for youngsters during the month of July for several years now as a way to give back to the community. The two graduated from Cooper High School, where they played for the Cougar Football Team right here in the Big Country. Rhodes is now in his sixth year playing for the National Football League , while Snow is in his seventh. Between workouts and preparation for this big day I was able to catch up with Rhodes and he was kind enough to give some of his time for an interview with the Tribune.I started off by asking Rhodes what it felt like not only to beat the next to last team to the Super Bowl, but more specifically what it felt like to beat the New England Patriots? Two years ago the Colts came close to getting a spot in the Super Bowl but were defeated by the Patriots. Rhodes has this to say about the Colts most recent win against the Patriots, “It’s a great feeling because…for me playing all of these years in football and witnessing the Patriots winning the Super Bowl a couple of times and beating us in the process, you realize that in January when the playoffs roll around you have to beat the Patriots. We knew that if we beat them that we could accomplish something that not a lot of people get a chance to accomplish and that’s winning the Super Bowl.” I asked Rhodes how long he had envisioned this moment in time for his life, to make it to the Super Bowl and he mentioned that his first dream as a little boy was to make it to the NFL. He adds “It hasn’t just always been about making it to the Super Bowl. Honestly at first, I was just so focused on making it to the NFL.” He shares that it was only after his Draft to the Indianapolis Colts Team, that he envisioned this. “ I was like man now it’s time to make it to the Super Bowl. He states that he had accomplished his first dream and that now it was time for him to accomplish his next.After asking Rhodes what it feels like to be presently playing on the same professional team with a former team mate Rhodes states this, “It kind of tells you what kind of program we came up in, Out of Abilene.” Looking at the likelihood of this happening is quite unique, but no surprise to Rhodes. In the later part of the 90’s the two experienced many championships on a high school level, at Texas Stadium. “When we were at Cooper, we won a lot and it shows that we bring something to a team to help them win.” He explains that the familiarity of playing football with someone that you’ve played with before is awesome! “It kind of gives you bragging rights…two people from the same team out of your town made it to the NFL. It’s a very cool feeling!”Rhodes has a message that he would like to share with the present Cooper Cougar Football Team. Without hesitation he says, “Never let anyone put a damper on your dreams. Anything you want to do in life, you can do it, you just gotta strive for it, be focused and dedicated.” Says Rhodes. He wants for them to know that life indeed will throw you curve balls, but that if you stay in there and you’re patient, you can achieve anything that you want. In my mentioning the little children here in town who are seeing him on television and are looking up to him, what he would like for them to know? Rhodes elaborates and says, “Follow your dreams. Don’t let anybody tell you what you can’t do, because with a strong mind and a strong heart, you can do anything that you want in life.” He talks about the passion and drive for life and doing what you enjoy. “You’ve got to want it more than other people.” He speaks of the great talent of Athletes here in Abilene and mentions that out of those, “There are only a select few who are dedicated enough and want it bad enough to make it to where I am at…It’s a major blessing!” Words of wisdom coming from someone, who knows, are priceless when it comes to the mind of a child.When asked what he considers to have attributed to his present level of success Rhodes makes mention of many who have simply cared. “I attribute a strong, strong, strong family that I have, like my Mom Patsy Rodriguez, my brothers and just everybody…Everybody that has helped me along the way to stay focused and know that my goals can be achieved.” Says Rhodes. Rhodes also attributes the hard work he has put in to his success. “It’s a combination of everything…people believing in me and me believing in myself.” adds Rhodes. Both Rhodes and Snow are making history simply by being the second people from Abilene to go to the Super Bowl. These guys are following behind a former Abilene football player by the name of Terry Orr who went to the Super Bowl and won in 1992. The history comes from them being on the same team and their going at exactly the same time. This is history on one level, however I made mention of another level of history that was being made as well. The coach for the Indianapolis Colts is Tony Dungy. He will be coaching against the Chicago Bears’ coach, Lovie Smith. I asked Rhodes how he felt knowing that he would be playing, not only in his first Super Bowl, but the first Super Bowl with two African American Coaches leading? Rhodes mentions the labels that have been put on African American coaches and feels that if those were not there, then this present history could have taken place a lot sooner. He mentions that he feels very strong about his heritage. “It’s a great thing to see two African Americans Coaches dual in the biggest game there is…and it’s on the biggest stage.” He goes on to say, “You couldn’t ask for anything better. I really think that the Lord is shining down on everybody that is playing in this game. I can’t say enough of how much of a blessing it is to express this situation that I’m going through right now.” With much gratitude Rhodes ends this topic saying, “When I get old, I’m gonna have a story to tell and that’s what I guess life is all about!” I asked Rhodes if he had any messages for Abilene on the day of the Super Bowl, reminding him that we would be watching. “I just want to say to Abilene, Thank You for all the support for all these years. Thank you for just believing in me. Every time when I come home, I get the utmost respect. I know that people are watching me and praying for me. I just want to say that my heart is always going to be with Abilene, and I’m always gonna come home and hopefully-God willing, I’ll be bringing the Super Bowl Trophy to the town of Abilene…and we can celebrate!” Says Rhodes. Either way it goes, this city has definitely got a reason to celebrate and someone to be proud of. If you would like to watch Dominic Rhodes, Justin Snow and the Super Bowl, you’ll be able to tune in to K-TAB from the CBS Network. The game is scheduled to air this Sunday, February 4th.