Gamecock commit turns grief into motivation

Published: Jun. 1, 2020 at 4:34 PM EDT
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SOUTH AIKEN, SC -- All of our area's athletes have felt the effects of the COVID pandemic: whether from not being able to finish out their spring seasons or to falling behind getting ready to play at the next level.

Both of those have certainly been true for South Aiken product Jesse Sanders. He didn't get to finish out his senior baseball season and will be fighting for playing time as a preffered walk on for south carolina's football team.

"It's definitely tough with gyms closing down. You knind of have to find your own way to get your exercise in, get the routes in, get weights in doing body weight stuff. Just going on runs byo yourself -- that's the toughest part," said Sanders.

Without weights, training gradually slowed down to mostly bodyweight and cardio exercises in addition to going through the route tree with Thoroughbred teammates. The lull in training only became more difficult in April when his older brother passed away in his sleep.

"For Casey, I think for him, what he'd want is for me to keep pushing, keep grinding. If he saw me grieving for too long, he'd be like, 'what're you doing?' It's been really tough, it's been something not a lot of people have to deal with. But it's just the card i've been dealt and it sucks," Sanders professed.

Casey had been Jesse's biggest supporter growing up and the two looked forward to the day where Casey could watch Jesse at Williams-Brice. Now Sanders has extra motivation to make the most of his chance with the Gamecocks.

"You know he's going to be looking down on me anyway, but this pushes me even harder. I can't give up. I've got to make the 4 or 5 years at Carolina. I can't give up. I've got to do it for him," said Sanders.

While most of the Gamecocks can start voluntary workouts on June 8th, Jesse will have to wait until July before heading to Columbia.

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