A Successful Journey for Erby
Nov. 12, 2007
By Ashley LeVine, Bucknell Athletic Communications
An athlete's career can be seen as a journey. In overcoming obstacles in the gym, on the court, or on the field, athletes can grow mentally and physically in order to be better prepared in handling challenging situations later in life. For Bucknell senior running back Corin Erby, his journey leading up to becoming a college football player has awarded him the experience to meet new people, travel to different areas and face roadblocks that have molded him into the driven person that he is today.
At a young age, Erby's football career started by simply getting together to play pick-up games with friends in the neighborhood.
"I grew up with my mother in Queens. I needed to get involved in some sort of after-school activity to keep me occupied because she worked two jobs at the time," says Erby. "A bunch of my friends in the neighborhood would love to get together and play football in the local parks."
Erby explains that one day a friend of his had the idea to organize a team to represent the neighborhood. At that point he started playing with ICYP, a youth program out of Long Island City, N.Y.
But what was it about football that kept Erby involved with the sport for so long? And how did he start to see the game as more than just an after-school activity? Coming from a large family, having a sense of camaraderie with teammates has always been important to Erby.
"The team aspect of football has kept me in it; it's the family aspect of the sport and the sense of togetherness," describes Erby. "It's very comfortable."
Following high school at Christ the King in New York City, Erby spent a year post-grad at the Salisbury School in Connecticut. Entering a new stage in his journey both as an athlete and as young man, Erby credits his experience at Salisbury as being eye-opening.
"It helped me out a lot. I was very closed-minded before I went to Salisbury; I was a city boy and I thought life revolved around the city," says Erby, "Going to such a rural area (about three hours from home) and meeting people from all over the country and all over the world helped me grow as a person and helped me prepare myself for what was to come."
After Salisbury, Erby sought to continue this tradition of growth and was interested in Bucknell right away because of its reputation for strong academics as well as athletics.
"My mother was really pulling for me to go to Bucknell," remembers Erby. "My grandmother, my coach, everyone wanted me to go to Bucknell."
When making the final decision of where to go following Salisbury, Erby explains, "I looked at a bunch of places and when I narrowed it down, it was Bucknell and about two other schools, but those schools aren't important anymore. Everything for me here pretty much revolves around my teammates; they are more like an extended family."
Making the transition from high school athletics to college athletics is never easy. Erby capitalized on this obstacle by viewing the transition as a chance to further expand his horizons by adapting to a different style of play.
In his freshman season he noticed that in college, "The mental and physical preparation is more complex. When I first got to Bucknell, the speed of the game really got to me. Things happen so fast and you have to learn how to react instantaneously. In high school you have the time and if you are talented enough you really don't have to prepare yourself as much mentally and physically."
In addition to having to adapt to the collegiate level of play, Erby was forced to deal with injuries during his first year at Bucknell.
"Injuries are rough," comments Erby. "It's frustrating to go out there and see your teammates doing things that you feel you are also able to do, but because of your current situation you are sidelined. You just have to stay positive and understand that everything happens for a reason."
This mindset paid off for Erby as he was able recover from early injuries to make a varsity appearance his freshman year and take home Bucknell Scout Player of the Year honors in 2004. He went on to play nine games on special teams during his sophomore season. As a junior, Erby appeared in 10 games on special teams and as a back-up fullback with a 47-yard touchdown run, the first of his college career, highlighting the campaign.
Erby models his competitive approach after his mother's. "My mother has a great work ethic and is a wonderful person with a great attitude," describes Erby. "She has a positive outlook on life and that keeps me driven. I always make sure call my mother before a game for extra inspiration."
He has learned both from his mother and from his own experience that preparation leads to confidence and confidence is the key to success in a competitive situation.
"I'm pretty confident before a game", says Erby, who had the first two-touchdown game of his career earlier this year at Duquesne. "If you are prepared, if you practice and read the scouting reports that the coaches give you early in the week, then you know what is going to happen and there are no surprises. If you are confident then you don't have any worries."
In his four years at Bucknell, Erby has experienced different roles on the team. From the freshman role of learning and transitioning to the senior role of leading, Erby has been able to identify his best style for being a team player.
"I am a laid-back person," Erby explains. "As a senior, your responsibility and your role on the team is of greater importance. That is something that took me awhile to grasp because I would rather the behind-the-scenes work. Plus, I don't have a strong voice; it goes out after about five minutes of yelling. I understand my role now. The seniors that were here when I was a freshman were a great group of guys and I learned a lot from them. What they passed on to me, I feel responsible to pass that on to our younger classes."
In his journey as an athlete, Erby notes that his time at Bucknell has provided him with a great opportunity to develop.
"It's been a huge growth," reflects Erby. "I have experienced more things in life because of being here. Also, being involved with football gave me the opportunity to travel to other schools. That's been cool because I have a lot of friends that go to other Patriot League and Ivy League schools."
Now that his time as a college athlete is winding down, Erby is about to embark on the next stage in his life and is debating on whether to pursue a career in business or go to law school. No matter what he decides to do, his journey as an athlete has undoubtedly prepared him for situations he will encounter later in life.
From his early days with ICYP, to Christ the King, to Salisbury and finally Bucknell, Erby has been able to personally identify what it takes for him to be successful. Erby has established strong relationships with family and teammates, knows that confidence and preparation will help him in competitive situations and feels that maintaining a positive outlook when facing obstacles will keep him driven.
As he moves on with his life, Erby will be able to draw on these assertions, made as a result of his experiences as an athlete, to help him be successful in whatever he decides to pursue and to allow him to continue his personal growth in situations that do not involve football.