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GAMEDAY FEATURE: Jake Fieler: A Game of Relationships

Sept. 2, 2017

by Spencer Haynes

Most kids dream big in their childhood. Some may want to be astronauts and others might want to be president, but for redshirt junior center, Jake Fieler, there was no dreaming about his destiny.

From a young age, Fieler knew that athletics was his calling. He comes from a family of athletes.

“My dad played college football, and his dad played college football, and my mom played volleyball, but my brother played basketball,” Fieler said.

That being said, he had to select which sport to pursue.

“There was no question that I was going to be an athlete,” Fieler said. “The sport was the question. I always loved football. I was always around it, watching it with my dad.”

To achieve his goal of playing football at the collegiate level, Fieler relied on his family for motivation, encouragement and support. He calls his dad his biggest motivator growing up until he reached high school.

“The example he set made me want to be better,” Fieler said.

In high school, however, it was his brother’s example that fueled Fieler’s drive to succeed. 

“My older brother (Chase) was having a lot of success playing basketball (at Florida Gulf Coast), and I got to be known as Chase Fieler’s younger brother,” Fieler said. “So I wanted to change that and be Jake Fieler.”

Even before Chase went to college, the brotherly relationship was a big influence on the younger Fieler’s life.

“We were super close,” Fieler said. “We shared a room until I was 14. He has always been there for me, mentoring me. He is a great role model.”

Of course, there was a competitive rivalry between the two brothers who were separated by only three years.


 

 

“We were extremely competitive,” Fieler said. “I usually lost at most things, because he was older. Chase was good at all sorts of activities, including games like ping-pong. We would always compete with each other no matter what we were doing.”

Even though the competitive rivalry existed, he always cheered for his brother on the court as Chase went on to play college basketball for Florida Gulf Coast. Fieler even had the opportunity to see his brother play in the Sweet 16 back in 2013. 

“I had seen him play at Duke and other places with crazy atmospheres, but the Sweet 16 was on a whole different level,” Fieler said. “The fact that FGCU was the underdog and kept knocking off these power-house teams - it was unreal.”

The event left a lasting impression on Fielder as he began the process to select a college to attend.

“I decided I wanted to go to Fork Union Military Academy, because I wanted to play at the top level in college,” Fieler said. “I wanted to get those types of offers to play in front of a big crowd. I had a lot of D2 offers out of high school, so that [experience] motivated me to work hard so I can earn a spot at the division one level.”

Fieler certainly has arrived at the biggest stage college football has to offer, but to reach this juncture, he has relied not only on intrinsic and extrinsic motivators, but on the support of people around him.

“My mom is my biggest supporter,” Fieler said. “She loves sports just like the rest of the family. Anytime I need, my mom is there for me. She’s the glue to my life. I would also put my sister up there with her. She’s always encouraging, and she’s also just a great friend.”

As Fieler has moved into this new chapter of his life, he still confides in his strong familial relationships, and he has also been building and strengthening relationships with his teammates, particularly with guard Steven Moss.

“I would say we are the two best friends on the team, and most people would agree with that,” Fieler said. “Outside of [Steven Moss], all of the offensive linemen and I are close. We do dinners, and usually you will find us together outside of the football field.”

Outside of lasting friendships, football has provided Fieler with many lessons, including working with others.

“Working with others, it’s not about you, that will be a lesson I will take with me for the rest of my life,” Fieler said. “If you have clashing opinions with someone, you have to put that behind you in order to accomplish a goal.”

Football has not only fostered relationships for Fieler, it’s helped him strengthen the ones outside of the sport too. It’s brought him closer together with teammates and family alike.

While Fieler is not quite sure what path his life will take after football, he is not worried about his life post-football, and he does not need to be. No matter where football and life leads him, he will always have the unyielding support of his family and the relationships forged through the sport he loves.

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A 1985 graduate of UVA, White worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch until July 2009. He was honored six times as the state's Sportswriter of the Year.

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