Early Life and Love for Football

A Rural Upbringing

Rueben Mayes was born and raised in a farming community in North Battleford, Saskatchewan, where football was not a significant part of life. However, Mayes was naturally drawn to the sport, and his talent was apparent from an early age. His passion for football only grew stronger as he played for North Battleford Comprehensive High School under the mentorship of coach Don Hodgins, who recognized Mayes’ potential and took a personal interest in his development.

The Impact of Coach Don Hodgins

Hodgins’ support for Mayes extended far beyond the typical role of a high school coach. He saw something special in Mayes and wanted to ensure that he had every opportunity to succeed in the sport. Hodgins helped Mayes secure a place in a football camp in the US, which proved to be a life-changing experience for the young athlete. Mayes’ time in the camp gave him the confidence and skills he needed to become a successful football player.

College Career and Path to the NFL

A Star at Washington State University

Mayes went on to attend Washington State University, where he played football and quickly caught the attention of NFL recruiters. In 1986, he was drafted in the third round by the New Orleans Saints. Despite facing several challenges early in his career, including a knee injury and homesickness, Mayes quickly established himself as a force to be reckoned with on the field. He rushed for over 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons, becoming one of the most promising young players in the league.

The Role of Mentorship in Success

Mayes’ success in the NFL was due to his talent, hard work, and perseverance, but he also credits his high school coach, Don Hodgins, for playing a crucial role in his development. Hodgins’ unwavering support gave Mayes the confidence he needed to succeed, and he remained a positive influence on Mayes throughout his career.

Later Career and Legacy

A New Chapter with the Seattle Seahawks

In 1991, Mayes was traded to the Seattle Seahawks, where he played for two more seasons before retiring in 1993. Although he only played for a few years, Mayes left a lasting legacy in the NFL. He was a tenacious and determined athlete, and his success on the field was a testament to his hard work and dedication.

Inspiring the Next Generation

Mayes’ story is a powerful reminder of the importance of having a strong support structure in life. Without the guidance and encouragement of his high school coach, Mayes may not have achieved the success he did. Mayes’ journey to success also serves as an inspiration to young athletes everywhere, demonstrating that hard work, perseverance, and a strong belief in oneself can overcome even the toughest of obstacles.