The Bulldogs’ sophomore Emmanuel Tait was named SoCon Male Track Athlete of the Week for the second time in three weeks for his record setting performances in the South Alabama Invitational. The Alabaster, Alabama, native picked up a win in the 100-meter dash in a time of 10.20 seconds, currently the best time SoCon and 10th best on the NCAA Division I performance list this season. Tait picked up another win in the 200-meter dash as well with a time of 20.90 seconds, also the best time in the SoCon for the season in this event as well.
Sports Editor Levi Edwards spoke with Tait about his drive for track and his life off the track and field.
Levi Edwards: What was instilled in you growing up?
Emmanuel Tait: My father, he’s not from here he’s from the north and his work ethic was something that was instilled in me very early and the same thing goes for my mom. At a very young age I was always out working in the fields no matter what the weather was or what time of day it was. We were always out there working so growing up with that mindset is what got me to the place I am today. My father is the person who has gotten me the mindset I have as an athlete and why I work so hard.
Levi Edwards: Speaking upon your father how has he helped you in life not only as an athlete but as a person?
Emmanuel Tait: My dad is my biggest supporter. He is my number one without him I wouldn’t be here. Since the time I could walk he had me running, there was no choice. Even though there was a time where I despised him and I didn’t even want to run anymore, he still put me out in the backyard no matter rain, shine, sleet, snow, storms or tornado it didn’t matter. He had me out there running. It took up a lot of time but in hindsight it was the best thing he could have done for me and he knew that. Anything that I had even the slightest passion for he would throw me in it and make me do it full force and I really appreciate him for that.
Levi Edwards: What kind of pressures were you faced with being a leader and competing so early on in your Samford career?
Emmanuel Tait: I don’t feel like it was a lot of pressure. I had a lot of people backing me up, I had a lot of support. I feel like it wasn’t a lot of pressure because we compete with each other everyday so I felt like I wasn’t in the limelight but it was more of all my teammates out here competing everyday against each other so we can compete against other teams. Just having that level of competition everyday at practice because these guys work hard and I work hard so we just bounce ourselves off each other. I don’t see myself as a leader of the team we all have our own voices and we’re all strong and we all compete so we carry ourselves and I feel that’s a very valuable part of our team.
Levi Edwards: How vital is your team to you and do you think you would be having the same success without them?
Emmanuel Tait: Absolutely not. Without the team, without the coaches without the support of everyone on the team and without me supporting them as well. It’s like a clock it’s like a system. We bounce off each other with all the energy they have that day reflexes off us that whether it’s a good or a bad day, we still find it within each other to make it the best day possible. Especially during conference and championship meets, when it’s on the line whether we win or not or scoring or not you it’s just important that you keep your head up for them and them for you because without their support and competing with me everyday I wouldn’t be where I am today.
Levi Edwards: When you’re not competing what things do you like to do off the field?
Emmanuel Tait: Working out and eating, that’s basically really all I do when I’m not on the clock. I just do my own workouts whether it’s hills or abs, it’s just making sure I’m not behind anyone else so I can be able to compete.
Levi Edwards: What do you like to listen to while you workout?
Emmanuel Tait: It varies but it’s lot of Kendrick Lamar, a lot of Kendrick Lamar, a lot of Future. Just a lot of get-hype rap like Wu Tang Clan. That’s what gets me hype when it’s time and a lot of gospel music.
Levi Edwards: What is your favorite Kendrick Lamar album?
Emmanuel Tait: Obviously I want to go to the classic and say “Good Kid m.a.a.d city,” but “To Pimp a Butterfly” was a masterpiece. He came out of nowhere because it took so long for it to come out and for me it was the music videos and the lyrics and the imagery especially for what is going on in America right now what he said in his songs in my life particularly bounced off me and spoke to me.
Levi Edwards: Would you say that album reflects most of who you are in life?
Emmanuel Tait: Totally absolutely agree especially where we are right now in 2018 where we see a lot of things happening politically and going on the news and you can watch the media all you want but what’s important is how you view yourself and know your own identity. “To Pimp a Butterfly” really reflected how I viewed myself as a person.
Levi Edwards: If your peers and teammates were to speak about you what would they say?
Emmanuel Tait: They would say I’m a goofball, that I don’t eat right. They would say that I’m not the smartest, sharpest tool in the shed, but they would say that I work hard and that I’m really dedicated and passionate about what I do that there’s a fire about track that I have that nobody else has. No matter all the bad things that are in my character when it comes down to track, when it comes down to really digging down and really understanding the position I’m in and understanding how I can do better for myself, I’m one of the only people that can really do that and change something when it comes down to it.
Levi Edwards, Sports Editor