ROXBURY, N.J. - Why should you vote for Tucker Voelbel in the "USA Football Heart of a Giant" contest, aside from the very important fact that you love Roxbury and he is a Roxbury High School athlete?
Well, there's this: "When I think about playing at home on a Friday night, I get the chills almost every time."
Or this: "I want to be the best at everything that I do. If that means I have to stay up until midnight after getting home from practice late to study for a test or complete homework for the next day, I do it. Success is the only option for me."
Maybe this will do it for you: "As soon as the season ends I begin training for next season. There is no off-season in football for me. "
Those comments, and many more like them, were submitted by Voelbel to USA Football in his application for The Heart of a Giant program. The program, presented by the Hospital for Special Surgery and the New York Giants, gives high school athletes a chance to win a $5,000 equipment grant. It is awarded to players in the region who "demonstrate unparalleled work ethic and passion for the game."
Voelbel, in his self-assessment, suggests he's got that covered.
"There has always been something in me that makes me strive for greatness in everything that I do," he wrote. "Failure is not an option for me, and success is what I shoot for."
The Gaels running back is not somebody you'd want to compete against if you can't handle losing. That applies not just to football.
"I want to win no matter what I am playing," Voelbel wrote. "It could be a board game with my family, a pickup basketball game, a wiffle ball game in the backyard, or most importantly - a football game. I will do whatever it takes to win, simply because I am a fierce competitor. I want to be the best."
He asserted football is as much a game of mind power as it is of muscle power and he said his "mental toughness" is what he often relies on when his body is tired in the waning minutes of a close game.
"I will myself to success," said the senior. "In the classroom, my desire to succeed is just as strong. I have a 4.44 GPA and am ranked 9 in my class of 320 students. I have gotten straight-A’s on every report card and never missed an assignment in my entire life ... Being an athlete and an honors student is very difficult to juggle."
Voelbel's description of what he does to stay in shape for Gaels sports is enough to make you tired just reading it. It's a never-ending series of weight lifting, cardio and other workouts that continues in the spring, when he plays baseball.
"Once summer comes around my focus goes to football," he wrote. "I still continue to play baseball in the summer, but football is my number one priority."
To cast your vote for Voelbel, log in here. Voting for the contest period in which Voelbel is competing ends Oct. 23.