Oct. 23, 2013
Sophomore offensive lineman Matt Sparks gave UMass Athletics an inside look at his decision to attend UMass and a little bit about what it is like being in the Northeast coming from Hawaii.
How did you decide to attend the University of Massachusetts?
"I enjoyed the whole environment here and the move to play Division I-A football. I wanted to build something and be a part of a team's growth. When the coaching staff recruited me, they really sold me on the idea of being a member of the team as it built something meaningful and historic. I also wanted to take the opportunity to explore and experience something new. Being from Hawaii, I had not been up to the Northeast until my official visit. I liked everything that I saw and that helped me make my decision."
What is the most impressive thing about your position coach?
"The most impressive thing to me about our offensive line coach, Dave Johnson, is simply how much he knows about the line and each position. He is a really smart coach with a lot of experience and he knows his stuff, which helped each of us grow in preparation for this season."
As a Hawaii native, can you surf? If so, is there a favorite spot you go to?
"Yes I can. Normally when I am surfing I go to Waikiki or Sandy beach."
How often do you get to go home?
"Winter break, maybe spring break but that isn't a guarantee, and the beginning of summer for a little bit."
How long does it take to get there from Massachusetts?
"To fly back it is eleven and a half hours on a direct flight from New York."
How many movies do you watch on it?
"Either three or four if that is all I do during the flight."
What is something about you that your teammates don't know?
If you could be on a reality show or a game show, what would it be?
"I was in the choir my first two years of high school. I still don't think I can sing though."
"That's a tough one - there are a lot of them I think I would enjoy. I saw Wipeout the other day and that looked like a ton of fun. Definitely the summer edition though, not the winter one."
How much do you feel you have grown since you arrived in the Northeast?
"A lot. I feel I have matured as a person being independent so far away from home. Physically, being in the weight room working out with all of the coaches and all of the other guys, I believe I have also become a stronger player on the offensive line. All together I think I have just grown in every way, including as a student in the classroom. There is a challenge there to be better too, it's not just about growing as a football player."