Fútbol to Football: Vishaal Gudapati’s Journey to the Big Leagues.
By: Jordan Parham
It is no secret that people will go great distances to achieve their goals. For author J.K. Rowling it took 12 times being denied by publishers before finding success with Harry Potter. For Philly Garcia, it took “hitting rock bottom” and sleeping in his car to spark his career as a barber, earning him the nickname “Barber King.” With all these inspiring stories floating around it’s no wonder why freshman, Vishaal Gudapati, felt encouraged to take a shot at pursuing his dream.
The Decision
Vishaal Gudapati decided to play football in his junior year of high school. Although he was a very talented soccer player and could’ve played in college, he “[knew] his potential” when it came to football. With only two seasons as a kicker in high school under his belt, Gudapati received offers from Division I teams from all across the country—a few of those schools being the University of North Carolina, the University of Maryland and the United States Military Academy at West Point. Although he did not receive any offers to kick from Virginia Tech, Gudapati decided to attend the university and attempt to walk on the team—which he was successful in doing. All that is left for him to do is keep himself healthy and conditioned for when his time to play comes.
Biggest Setback
Gudapati has experienced few setbacks in his career. One major thing that sets him back is any injuries he acquires. He strives to keep himself healthy, but he also claims that he’s been injured more times than healthy in a year—as he recently recovered from tearing his Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL). Instead of giving up, Gudapati used these lessons as motivation to keep working towards his spot on the team.
A minor setback that Gudapati often faces is the negativity from others around him. “I’ve heard it all, and I heard it even more in my Junior season when I didn’t start,” said Gudapati in a recent interview. Regardless of what comments come his way Gudapati likes to keep his head high and prove people wrong. He added, “I like to keep everything to myself … they’ll see what happens. I keep proving them wrong, and I can’t wait to see what happens [next].”
As we strive for challenging goals, it is easy to find ourselves sacrificing hobbies to pay more attention to the work at hand; fortunately, Gudapati was able to transfer his hobbies to football. He incorporated lifting—one of his most enjoyed hobbies—in his football workouts. He keeps on a disciplined training routine by kicking three times a week and lifting twice weekly. Unfortunately, spending time with close friends is a sacrifice he has to face. 
One Goal, Multiple Destinies
With all the heartache Gudapati faces he still refuses to give up on his dream of officially being added to the Virginia Tech football roster. He wants to “be there to get [his] opportunity” to play when the time comes. When Gudapati met the current head coach of Virginia Tech football, Brent Pry, he recalls Pry offering him an internship for the Summer. Gudapati respectfully declined and said, “...that’s not what I’m here for. I’m here to play.” 
Close friends of his have noticed his determination, too. When asking close friends Colin Ryan and Dylan Hughson about what they see in Gudapati that they would like to mimic, Ryan responded, “...his work ethic for sure. He goes to the gym a lot and goes very consistently, which is a good habit to have in the future.” and Hughson replied, “From what I’ve seen and heard I’d say he’s been working his [tail] off. He’s been to [many] workouts … he’s been locked in … he rarely goes out much and doesn’t drink much either.” 
If Gudapati does not make the team or the NFL his backup plans are to play for a semiprofessional organization such as the Arena Football League (AFL) or the Extreme Football League (XFL), and if sports is not where he sees himself he has thoughts about attending law school to become a lawyer. Wherever life takes Vishaal Gudapati he lives by one saying, “Be ready for any opportunity that comes [your] way,” a saying he wishes he could go back in time and tell his younger self.

Abid, Mr. Nabeel, et al. “JK Rowling Turned down by 12 Publishers before Finding Success with Harry Potter Books.” Interviews With People Overcoming Adversity And Succeeding In Life, 4 Feb. 2020, riseupeight.org/jk-rowling-harry-potter-books/#:~:text=Share%20Your%20Story-,JK%20Rowling%20Turned%20Down%20By%2012%20Publishers,Success%20With%20Harry%20Potter%20Books&text=By%20Dana%20Hall.,existent%20in%20her%20legal%20name. 
Garcia, Philly. Instagram, www.instagram.com/phillybarberking/. Accessed 7 Apr. 2024. 
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