By Andres Farrera
AUSTIN, Texas – NFL Films’ 25-year-old Emmy-Award Winning Associate Producer, Courtland Bragg, spoke to University of Texas students on November 14, students who were barely younger than himself, and told them that they could be in his shoes.
“People aren’t going to believe your dreams,” said Bragg. “That’s fine. They’re yours. But you have to know what your dream tastes like, feels like, looks like”.
In a room buzzing with hushed chatter at the University of Texas at Austin’s Belo Center for New Media, the youngest full-time NFL Films employee, Courtland Bragg discussed the importance of following your passions, the struggles of success and trusting your journey. The 25-year-old told students that he doesn’t want to be the only one to achieve great accomplishments.
Bragg found his purpose in storytelling and inspiring others, he spoke at UT about this passion and his journey through life so far. Growing up in New Jersey Bragg always had the aspirations to play college football but had his dreams crushed when Syracuse University rejected him. He was told that he was too short. ‘Shortland Bragg’, he was called, had been rejected based on something he couldn’t control. However, facing rejection didn’t stop Bragg from pursuing his dreams of living in the football world. Bragg used the rejection as motivation to find his purpose and platform.
“The two most important days of your life are: the day you’re born and the day you find out why,” said Bragg.
By focusing on the opportunities life provided him and remaining dedicated to his purpose Bragg was able to follow his dreams to NFL Films. Initially applying as an intern for NFL Films during his junior year in college Bragg was rejected. Again, having his dream of working with football stalled, but he persisted and applied again the next year. This time succeeding and securing an internship. Working in the NFL Films internship eventually led to a full-time position for Bragg, an opportunity which fulfilled his passion and purpose.
Although many see his accomplishments as great feats and an example of what success looks like, Bragg stated that we can’t see the struggles he’s endured to reach this point. Each individual can’t compare themselves to anyone else’s chapter because we are all reading a different story of life.
“Courtland was genuine, he tasted success, failure and everything in between,” said Zack Torres a 3rd year public relations student. “He didn’t say succeeding was easy, but he told us we could do it”.
Bragg’s discussion with the audience focused on his personal experiences as an example of persistence and dedication to inspire the students struggling to find their passion and purpose.
“What Courtland brings is an ability to relate to the students because he’s almost their age,” said Taylor Brown, program coordinator with the UT Center for Sports Leadership and Innovation. “His ability to relate on a more personal level… allows students to appreciate it a little more,”.
Courtland Bragg came to UT to tell a story of success, not a story about his success; a story about how to succeed, a story about trusting your journey through life. Through rejection, depression and adversity, Courtland Bragg achieved his dream of working with his passion for football. Bragg wants every student to have a similar success story of their own knowing that anything is possible if they trust their journey.