Music can be one of the most influential factors when looking for inspiration to spark new motivation.
He knew the song well — well enough to play it from front to back on repeat in his head throughout the course of his most important test of the season.
Going into Saturday’s game against Cal Poly, the lyric that quarterback Garrett Grayson continued to sing to himself came from the melodic tune of Avicii’s “Wake Me Up,” which features one of those catchy riffs that won’t escape your thoughts all day long after you’ve heard it even once.
However Grayson wanted the tune there, willfully placing it in his own mind going into the Rams’ third game of the season. The song tells the story of how he found a way to overcome the troubles he experienced in his first two shots as the team’s starter, completing only 34 of his 68 pass attempts with two interceptions entering Saturday.
The first 90 seconds is an introduction with a slow tempo that is symbolic of CSU’s 0-2 start which was filled with dropped passes, incompletions and finger-pointing. The words “all this time I was finding myself,” is exactly what Grayson had been doing.
But when the beat of the chorus dropped and the dance music was queued, Grayson became a whole different athlete under center. He tied his career-best performance in terms of passing yards, throwing for 297 for two touchdowns without giving up an interception.
“It’s an electric song, so it’s got the same kind of beat over and over. I was just kind of singing that over and over warming up, trying to get into a groove,” Grayson said. “Once that first completion that I had, when I saw it, it made everything easier.”
From there, the music levels were turned up and he began firing on all cylinders. Grayson began playing the football game as if his job depended on it, because well, it did.
Unhappy with Grayson’s performance through CSU’s first two games, head coach Jim McElwain had mentioned that the idea of going with a different quarterback would be a good possibility if he failed to produce for a third-straight time.
Being the quarterback is naturally presented with the leadership role, which placed a lot of blame and doubt on Grayson when the team was unable to come up with a win.
“I had heard what people had been saying about me and all that stuff. It hurt, I had never been in that position before,” Grayson said. “It kind of put that fire, you know. Coach Kent always says to let negative energy fuel positive fire.”
The positive fire was sparked from the four minutes and 12 seconds of “Wake Me Up,” and turned into a full-blown wildfire in the 60 minutes of game time at Hughes Stadium.
The selection on Garrett Grayson’s iPod was perfect on Saturday. It woke him up when he needed it most.
Sports Editor Quentin Sickafoose is a senior journalism major. His column appears every Monday in the sports section of the Collegian. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @QSickafoose.