Football player gains new role on campus

Fitchburg State’s football players know that teamwork is important, both on and off the field. (Falcons photo)

By Victoria Evans

Resident assistants. Football players. These two groups of people are usually never tied together, in fact most of the time you just hear about RAs getting rowdy football players in trouble. So what happens when a football player decides to become a resident assistant? For the answer to that question we turn to FSU football starting linebacker and Russell Towers resident assistant Patrick Doherty.

The first thing Doherty, a junior secondary education major at Fitchburg State, will tell you about pulling double duty is how stressful it is. This summer he had to come back to school three weeks early for football camp. Then he had to balance that with RA training which started up a week later.
“It’s hard [and] stressful. You really need to have a good understanding by both your boss and coach,” says Doherty who has been playing football since he was only six years old. This is his second year playing for Fitchburg State, and his first year as a resident assistant. Doherty says last year when he was applying there was definitely a big reasoning behind it.
“I applied to show that just because I’m a football player doesn’t mean I’m a party guy as some would assume,” says Doherty. When asked if he felt stereotyped into the “football playing meathead” category, Doherty replies, “Of course there are always people who doubt one’s abilities, or judge them by their background and assume that a person won’t do well or be peer pressured into acting a certain way, but I just ignore those as much as possible. I listen to those who are willing to help me.”
Having support is one thing that Doherty relies on. “Having people to encourage you is a big help,” he says.  It comes as no surprise – take one look at Doherty’s schedule and you can immediately see how crazy things can get. It consists of football practice every day of the week except Sunday, games every Saturday throughout the fall, various nights of duty each week, meetings with his Resident Director, and RA staff meetings. Not to mention five classes, one of which involves finding time to complete a pre-practicum for his introduction to secondary education class.
“You have to give and take. More give, of course, but in the long run it should pay off,” says Doherty. So why does he put up with everything? Clearly trying to juggle all of these things would put a lot of pressure on someone.

“Being an RA makes me feel better about myself. I feel good knowing I’m pushing to make a difference,” he says. “I feel more open and understanding of my residents, and [realize] how much they actually rely on me.”

That doesn’t mean he has given up on football though. Doherty still works just as hard during games and practices as he does with his new leadership position. He says, “I’m being myself. I haven’t changed into just an RA, but have learned the concept role of being [one].”

When asked if he would do it all again given a second chance he replies with a simple, “Yes. [I have] no regrets.”