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Allen Fails Jr., Talks about his trip to Shreveport for the Walk-On's Independence Bowl

Dec. 25, 2017

Day 1, Dec. 23

“Getting off the bus and seeing all of my brothers made me realize how blessed we are to have this opportunity. We have all experienced some sort of adversity, trials and tribulations and tough times during this season, but this is what it is all about – moments like this. It is worth going through adversity. I was always taught that in order to appreciate the rainbow that you have to go through the storm. The best part of the day was seeing my named printed in the tiles (of the floor at the team hotel at the Hilton Shreveport. It really made me understand how grateful and blessed I am. The best thing I can do is to enjoy this moment, because we never know when it is going to be taken away from us. In times like this I appreciate playing the game I love.”

(Editor’s Note: Allen was later awarded the Southern Miss Scholar-Athlete award at the team’s first event while in Shreveport – “The Big Game Show.”

Day 2, Dec. 24

“Today was a great day to give back to the people that were less fortunate (while visiting the Providence House in Shreveport). Doing this today made me realize how blessed we are and how easy it is to take advantage of the little things. This journey of football has taught me that (these things) are much bigger than football. Football has taught me a lot such as how to work hard, never give up, fight when there seems to be no way, about life, but mainly how to take advantage of every opportunity because we never know when things can be taken away from us. Visiting the homeless shelter allowed me to see just how good God is to us and how things could be. It made me realize all the sacrifices by our parents that we can live a good life. The kids that I saw just gave me good vibes and made me see that it could have easily been me and the little things that I go through isn’t as bad as they go through. They don’t really have a place to stay, they don’t have a place to eat. Just understanding that I may not always have what I want, but I am always blessed with what I needed. So I just thank God for this day because it taught me a lot about appreciating the little things.”

Day 3, Dec. 25 – Christmas Day

“Today has been a bittersweet day with all the holiday spirits. Today is a different day – a new day. This is the first time that we will see this day, while also the last time we will see it. This Christmas is different. Many of our teammates have lost loved ones, but we have had some teammates that have gained new loved ones. All of our teammates have gone through a lot of things and grew as young men. I have come to the conclusion that this is the last practice of the year and, for some of us, it will be the last practice that we will ever have. It made me realize that after today that there will be no more Ito, no more Julian Allen, no more Xavier Thigpen. It made me realize that there will be no more Staggs, or Rod Crayton, Derrick Dixon or Draper Riley. That this is the last time that this team will suit up together (in a practice) as one. This is the last practice that we will ever share the same water bottle, towels and last time that we get to sweat together. For something that has been so routine for us, it will soon be no more. Being here for Christmas with my brothers has made me realize how much I love my teammates and my brothers and how much that we have been through, overcame and the bond that we have created that will last us a lifetime. It really has made me realize the brotherhood that you can have by playing the game of football.”   

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