Cadet Q&A: Eric Osteen




Oct. 15, 2012

Why did you choose to come to West Point?
I decided to come to West Point because of the opportunities it provided me, both academically and athletically. I originally thought I would be attending Georgia Tech; however, after much thought and prayer, I decided that West Point would be the best fit for me. West Point is one of the best and most prestigious schools in the nation, and I knew it would challenge me in a multitude of ways. I talked with many people before making my final decision, including graduate and CEO of Bell Helicopters Mr. John Garrison '82, who was also a football player. With his encouragement about the education he received, and the feeling I had that God had chosen this path for me, I chose the United States Military Academy and look forward to becoming an officer in the United States Army.

What does it mean to be an Army football player?
Being an Army football player is one of the greatest honors that I have ever received. It is truly surreal to know that I am surrounded by the nation's best and brightest leaders, scholars, and teammates you could ever imagine. I play football at West Point; I have to pinch myself sometimes when I think about it. To be part of a tradition that extends back over 100 years and to play for the same school that many great Americans have gone before me is truly humbling. Every time I run into Michie Stadium and touch the quote from Gen. (George C.) Marshall I am reminded that playing football at West Point is more than the plays that occur on the field; it is about character, sacrifice, courage, team and the willingness to push forward when you are not sure how you are going to.

How has playing football at Army shaped you?
Army football has shaped and changed me tremendously over the past four years. I have learned there are many challenges that may present themselves and knock you down, but it is how you respond and effectively counter them with your attitude, work ethic, and dedication that ultimately defines who you are. There is a "never die" attitude amongst my teammates, as well as the constant will to win at everything you do. That inspires me to accept nothing but perfection in all of my tasks, duties, and responsibilities.

Describe your fondest memory of Army football.
At the completion of the Northwestern versus Army football game last season, Gen. (Martin) Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was presented with one of my football No. 37 jerseys because he is the 37th Army Chief of Staff. He, in turn, had the Superintendent present me with his coin. This coin will be something I will look at in future years, and have a fond remembrance of that day in football and also being at West Point.

Have you always been a kicker and why?
I have always been a kicker since the first time I was formally introduced to football at the Academy of Richmond County high school in ninth grade. From the ages of 4-18, I played soccer on the school's team, as well as a travel squad named the Arsenal Gunners. It only made sense for me to be a kicker and my passion for it grew quickly.

How much of the kicking game is mental?
I would argue that at the college level, 90 percent of kicking is mental. With this being said, there are improvements to be made physically, whether it is in the weight room or running sprints; however, the largest percentage lies in between the ears. You really have to be engaged and focused during each kick, and learn to zone out all the other distractions. I have received a lot of help over the past couple of years from Maj. (Travis) Tilman, who is involved in the Center for Enhanced Performance. He has taken my confidence, mentality, and kicking routine to a whole new level, which has dramatically helped me to become more consistent.

If you were not playing football, what other sport would you play and why?
If I was not playing football, I would have to say I would be on the golf team. I have lived my whole life in Augusta, Ga., which is known as the home of the Masters golf tournament. I can remember when I was five years old saying that I wanted to be a professional golfer and play in the Masters. Throughout much of my life, golf was the sport I cared most about, and I began to practice every day. My parents would drop me off during the summer every morning at 0730, and my grandparents came to pick me up at noon. Many times I asked them to take me back to the course so that I could get more practice in. For me, golf is a sport that requires complete focus and mental strength, similar to kicking. You have to forget about the bad shots and drive on, resulting in rewarding experiences.

What branch do you want to enter after graduation and why?
I see the landscape of the Army of the future evolving rapidly. While there will never be a replacement for "Boots on the Ground," I feel that for our soldiers to be successful, they must have the best information available to succeed. I believe the future will depend on our ability to intercept cyber intelligence and use that to our tactical advantage. I feel that the best way for me to use my talents to ensure success going forward is through the Signal Corp.

What is the most important lesson you have learned while at West Point?
It's not just about me. I think most of us who come to West Point excelled during our high school years. It became pretty easy to focus on yourself when you are constantly being told you are great at this or outstanding at that. I will never forget when I made my visit to West Point; I was walking around campus with my high school letter jacket on, feeling pretty good about myself, when a cadet came up to me and told me to enjoy being the big man on campus at high school because if I come here I will feel much different. I never felt too low at any one time, but understand what he may have been saying. Success is not about how well I do; it is about how well my team and those around me do. We are either successful as a team or not successful at all.

What do you like to do in what little down time you have?
While down time is rare, my favorite thing to do is spend time with the friends I have made here at West Point. I know that those friendships will last a lifetime. With this being said, I thoroughly enjoy playing and beating Trent (Steelman), Brian (Austin), and Chris (Boldt) on the golf course.

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