Life after graduation for college athletes can often be challenging due to the fear of the unknown. After years of devoting a vast majority of time to their sport, they come to a crossroad, “Will I continue on the path of athletics and go pro or is it time to hang up my uniform for the final time?”
For five-year senior hurdler Matthew Viverette, he knows faith will get him past the crossroad.
During his years at Sam Houston State, Viverette has dedicated his time and hard work to becoming one of the best in his field. From early mornings and strenuous practices to late night study sessions and injury, it has not always been the easiest, but as a natural born competitor, he has embraced the challenge.
Viverette learned to be self-sufficient at a very early age when his parents gave him responsibility of his schooling and sport. This was a blessing in disguise for him as it taught him to become independent and take action to attain the goals he set out to accomplish.
With his faith as the main driving factor in his day-to-day, Viverette does not feel that he will be stuck at a crossroad when he graduates.
“College is about finding out who you are and who you are capable of being, but for each person it is going to be different,” Viverette said.
Growing up in Mont Belvieu, Viverette was involved in many sports such as tee-ball, basketball and football. It was not until seventh grade when he got his first taste of track and field, and he was instantly hooked. Though he had opportunities to play collegiate football, Viverette ultimately decided to come to SHSU as a track and field athlete after reuniting with his middle school coach.
It would be easy to assume that his biggest obstacle as a hurdler would be the barriers he has to clear on the track, but this is not the case. Viverette attributes his biggest challenges to spiritual stability and growth as well as filling the shoes of the elders that mentored and shaped him to become a man of God and a leader of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
In college, athletes are taught to train hard each day to ultimately win a medal, a trophy or recognition of some sort, but Viverette feels this is not the only driving factor for him as a runner.
“My main motivation as an athlete and life in general is my faith,” he said. “I am here at Sam as a blessing, and I feel that it is all a trickle effect. When I do my best to glorify and honor Him, I in turn am able to honor my coaches, my teammates, my family and friends.”
According to Viverette, there have been many instances where he has seen former teammates with the greatest potential fall by the waste side due to a lack of drive and the passion to succeed.
“If you don’t want it bad enough, it’s never going to come, and if you want to be the best and succeed, then you can’t be afraid of hard work,” Viverette said.
Fortunately, he has remained steadfast, has grown in many ways and has become a leader on and off the track.
After graduation Viverette plans to continue sharing his gifts as a teacher and coach as well as continue running and competing in open meets.
“I enjoy competing too much to let it go, and I want to remain active and heathy, but I really feel I am being led to teach and coach,” he said. “I enjoy kids and being someone who can steer them in the right direction and hopefully propel them to a bright future.”