New England Patriot Cameron Fleming

 

Cypress, Texas ( August 17, 2015)

From the moment you enter the stands of the Cy Creek student section, you can hear the chant, “We love our boys in blue!” The love of football is undeniable. For Cameron Fleming, now an offensive lineman for the New England Patriots, a love for sports started at an early age and was fostered by the program at Cypress Creek High School.

CFM_F_15_Cameron Fleming_MV091414_DS2884_Courtesy of the New England Patriots David Silverman

Cy Creek Cougar makes his way to the NFL and a Super Bowl championship

From the moment you enter the stands of the Cy Creek student section, you can hear the chant, “We love our boys in blue!” The love of football is undeniable. For Cameron Fleming, now an offensive lineman for the New England Patriots, a love for sports started at an early age and was fostered by the program at Cypress Creek High School.

Texas Football

Fleming’s parents, Kem and Karen, are both sports fans and a great encouragement to their son. “I think I tried every sport possible as a kid,” he laughs. “I always knew I would be in sports at least through high school.” Admittedly it was a huge jump from the pee-wee league to Texas high school football, but his natural talent surfaced early and Fleming excelled at both basketball and football. “Some of my best memories are on the field in my silver and blue jersey, especially winning our first district championship and making it to the playoff s during our basketball season,” he recalls. The Cy Creek program taught Fleming how to play football and the art of hard work. “Coach McCaig not only taught us how to play, but how to gain confidence in ourselves,” he says. “It was a great school and environment. I loved everything about it.”

Pursuing Education

Fleming was gaining interest from universities and had plans to attend TCU. Aft er being given an off er to play at Stanford University and with the encouragement of his family, he headed to California. It was during his college years that Fleming began to hone his skills and realize that his talent could take him to the next level. “I wasn’t really even aiming to play in college until I got offered,” he admits. “So the NFL wasn’t in my sights until I got to college and began playing at my highest level.” Th e true definition of a student-athlete, Fleming pursued a degree in aeronautics and astronautics engineering. “Being from Houston, the Space City, and being around it all of the time was always interesting to me,” he says. “Both of my parents are in the military and dad was an air defense officer. All of those meshed up and made me want to major in aeronautics.” A Stanford graduate, Fleming stresses the importance of a college education to all aspiring athletes. “College is crucial, especially for the NFL. If you don’t go to college you can’t get noticed,” he says. “You need to have a back-up plan. Even if you don’t have one, you need that knowledge to handle your adult life either way.

Drafted as a Patriot

In 2014, Fleming was draft ed by the New England Patriots and joined notorious names like Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski. “I’ve learned a lot more about football, structure, work, and organizing my time from my coaches and teammates,” says Fleming. “It’s different when it’s a full-time job.” Adjusting to the demanding schedule of training, games, and public appearances can be challenging, and Fleming admits that his mother does get upset when he misses their weekly update phone calls. But he tries to keep up with his friends and family as much as possible. “My parents have definitely been my biggest support through all of this. They came to every one of my high school games, my college games when they could, and they even try to make it out here to New England when they can.” While you might hear thumping music getting the crowd amped up before the game, Fleming has a slightly different approach. “I prefer to listen to slow jams right before I go out on the field,” he laughs. “It helps calm my nerves.”

Super Bowl Champion

Probably the biggest highlight of Fleming’s career thus far is being a part of Super Bowl XLIX, a nail-biting game between the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks. “Th ere was overwhelming joy and elation,” says Fleming. “I really don’t know how to describe the feeling of being able to say for the rest of your life that you are a champion.” Fleming distinctly remembers seeing his parents and younger sister on the fi eld and being able to share this monumental moment with them. “Just being able to see them and hug them immediately aft er the win was incredible. I even cried a little bit. It was a great feeling.”

Core Character

The transition from college ball to the NFL is definitive for athletes. For many of them it helps define skill, character,and accountability. “You go from being a student-athlete to an employee of a football team so it’s a job,” explains Fleming. “There is a level of professionalism that is expected just like any other workplace.” In a high-paying position such as professional football, there is an expectation of money and oft entimes a certain kind of lifestyle. Fleming notes that it is important not to get caught up in the hype. “I think that maintaining character and integrity isn’t something that you have to do; it’s just who you are. It’s part of your core.” He encourages athletes to be a student fi rst and keep their grades up. “Step one is getting into college and maintaining your ability to play,” he explains. “Work hard, know your limitations, but also push your weaknesses.” Fleming is having the experience of a lifetime competing at the highest level. He has earned his spot among highly competitive and talented players. Hopefully there is another championship season in the works, but for now he will continue his training, and create another slow jams playlist on his iPod. CFM

KIRSTEN CORNELL is the lead associate editor for Cy-Fair Magazine. Her glory days ended when she was sidelined in a fourth-grade flag football game.