Sweat drips off an almost Grecian god-like statue. Fatigue seems as though it's setting in, but he refuses to give and pushes his body harder. "Pain is just weakness escaping the body." This is a philosophy many athletes over the years have lived by. This is a typical Tuesday and Thursday for the 5'10, 230-pound former tackling machine. Eric Thomas Jr. has had a very grueling 6 months, but it has only intensified his love for the game of football. Football is everything to him. It is what he lives and breaths. It is simply his life. .
It's a Friday afternoon. The sun is shining through the window of Five Guys, a local burger joint right outside the gates of Louisiana State University. The smell of old grease and frying hamburgers immediately turns my stomach. I take some time to gather my thoughts as I wait for Eric to come out of the restroom. As soon as he walks out the restroom he immediately catches the attention of some of the patrons in the restaurant due to the many bulging muscles protruding from his body. He sits down; he is wearing a green Tulane baseball cap, which he has had BabyRay52 monogrammed onto the side of it, paying homage to his favorite NFL player Ray Lewis, green sweatpants, and grey pullover polo. It is very simple attire for such a big man, but also very common for a football player. His piercing green eyes are all too engaged into his IPhone 5. I immediately make the presumption that he is disinterested and quickly try to gauge his attention as many football players but he sits his phone down and turns his full attention to me. .
Despite the football player physique, Thomas is quite soft-spoken. Thomas started playing football at the age of 10. This to me sounded an appropriate age to start playing such a physical sport but he says, "Usually kids start playing at 6." He started playing peewee league as a hobby, but it soon grew into something that he would have an everlasting love for.