Drake, Kanye West, J. Cole.
Browsing through most athletes’ pre-game playlists, this is what you’ll find – there is nothing more important than music to set the tone for an upcoming game.
But ask sprint football quarterback Andrew Paolini, and he’ll tell you he’s listening to something different.
For him, Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin do the trick.
As unorthodox as her musical choices may seem, when it comes time to step onto the pitch, Sinatra’s calming voice puts Paolini in the right frame of mind to lead her team.
After losing Eddie Jenkins, the CSFL’s quarterback MVP, two years ago, Paolini found himself with an important role to play. Despite this, Paolini was just amazing.
Although Paolini has only two games under his belt – with a first loss to Army and a 55-28 victory over Mansfield – it is his poise that stands out in his experience.
âHe’s always got his head on his shoulders – he’s thinking and always keeps his cool, even under pressure,â said sprint football wide receiver Brendan McCaffrey. âHe’s someone who everyone can really count on.
It’s not just the gamers who feel that way, either. Paolini’s regular demeanor was taken over by the sprint football coaching team.
âIt’s contagious – his confidence – that people just believe he’s going to get things done and it spills over to the whole squad,â said coach Jerry McConnell. âHe’s become the leader of the attack, and everyone knows he’s the guy.
Paolini knows it’s him too.
“I fill up some really big Eddie Jenkins shoes, but right now I’m just trying to be the best quarterback I can to help the team win,” Paolini said. “I lead by example and try to be the best possible example of how to be a sprint football player.”
It’s not just about talking. Everyone around the program sees Paolini leading by example.
âHe went to the running backs meeting, the receivers meeting and the offensive line meetings; he just wanted to learn, âMcConnell said. âIt was significantly postponed for him. He has a great understanding of our attack because of the effort he put into learning it, and that has translated into the field.
While Paolini clearly has some natural talent, it’s clear that his success on the pitch has also been bolstered by his training routine and dedicated study habits.
Despite his success, it’s a surprise to many that Paolini wasn’t always meant to be a quarterback.
âMy whole family is a baseball family. My dad is a baseball coach, my older brother continued to play college baseball, and I was supposed to go play college baseball myself, âPaolini said. “But I stumbled upon sprint football.”
Some of the great talents in the NFL hail from baseball – Joe Theismann, Kyler Murray and Patrick Mahomes, to name a few. For the Penn Sprint football team, Paolini might as well be their Mahomes; his natural arm talent in addition to his NFL-level work ethic make him a deadly combination.
âHe’s always willing to stick around after practice to review the playbook,â McCaffrey said. âIf someone forgets a part or takes the wrong path, they’ll stick around after practice and work with that person to make sure they know what they’re doing and why they’re doing it.
With the work Paolini puts into his game, the pre-game playlist he chooses seems like an afterthought.
But when Paolini settles into a game, he – like Sinatra – finds himself hitting all the right notes.