Football players and fans always find a way of connecting, but Indianapolis Colts outside linebacker Trent Cole has a unique connection with Hoosier fans: farming. Football and farming go hand in hand in the Midwest. While many players know this on a surface level, Cole understands it deeply, much like the ground he turns.
Growing up in rural Ohio, Cole was surrounded by farm land. Agriculture was a big part of life, from the fields he rode past as a kid, to the people he knew and the work his family did. Today Cole does much of his work on the football field. However as he plans for life after football, he knows working on a different kind of field will play a big role. Cole owns a farm in Ohio where he raises sheep and cattle and grows grain, soybeans and corn. He also leases land out to other farmers.
You might not think farming and football have much in common. One is glitzy and produces some of America’s biggest superstars. The other is quiet and often anonymous. Cole knows firsthand just how much these two professions have in common, and how the skills that make him successful in football are just as important on the farm. Both professions take a tremendous amount of hard work, both mentally and physically.
“We go out there and we work out butts off,” Cole says of both farming and football. Cole easily points out many other similarities. Patience plays a big role. Often the work put in at the beginning of the season doesn’t reap any rewards until the very end. Just as NFL players must study their playbooks, farmers must study their own plans for soils and crops. While defensive players like Cole strive to build up tackles, sacks and interceptions, farmers strive for bigger and better yields. In both professions, he works hard to be successful.
“I am an athlete,” Cole says. “Competitiveness comes with being an athlete. When it comes to farming I’m just as competitive. I want to see what the best way and best route is for increasing my yield.”
As much as Cole knew about farming by growing up around it, there were still a few things that surprised him when he started to get his own hands dirty. One of the biggest misconceptions he sees about farmers is that others view it as a lucrative business. With big fields and state-of-the-art equipment, he understands how it can look that way. But he knows that costs are high, that many farmers must take out big loans on the equipment they need, and that something as uncontrollable as the weather can ruin a year’s work.
“When it comes to farming, you have to love it because it is a lot of hard work,” says Cole.
The same could be said of football. The rewards can be great, but the physical toll on a body is difficult. And as Cole knows all too well, an uncontrollable injury can wipe out a season.
Despite the hard work, Cole finds farming to be a great stress reliever. Whether farming or hunting, he loves being outdoors. It helps him to shut everything off and reset himself for the next game or season. He’s also found that his farming background helps him connect on a deeper level with Indianapolis Colts fans.
“Coming to Indiana and playing for the Colts, knowing this is a huge agricultural state and seeing the fields, I love it. I love taking a ride down the road and seeing farmers work fields. I relate to a lot of outdoor people and farmers because it all circulates in one. It is football, it is the Midwest, and that is where I come from.”
When his football career is over, Cole looks forward to having more time for doing hunting shows (he’s currently the host of a show on Blitz TV) and turning ground. Where his family once worked for farmers, he’s proud to be a first generation farmer and is eager to pass his farm down to a new generation. In the meantime, Indianapolis Colts fans are happy to have him on their side of the field!
Colts fans can connect with Hoosier farmers through the beloved ritual of tailgating. Be sure to check out some of our previous posts featuring recipes for your next Colts tailgate or football party. Headed to Lucas Oil to watch the Colts take on the Texans December 11th? Be sure to check out the Colts Best Tailgate finalists, sponsored by Indiana Soybean Alliance, and see who takes home the title of Tailgate of the Year!
“Angie Six is a guest contributor to ColtsRoundUp.com. To hear more from Angie visit, Just Like the Number. ”