Nate Boyer at the Texas Longhorns stadium. (YouTube)
Nate Boyer is no ordinary football player. While being deployed in Afghanistan, the former Green Beret learned how to play football by watching YouTube tutorials. At age 30, after practicing relentlessly, Boyer joined the Texas Longhorns as the team’s long snapper.
YouTube caught up with Boyer in advance of Veterans Day to learn more about his journey from the military to the football field, and to get his advice for others who might want to follow in his footsteps.
YouTube: Today is Veterans Day. What does this day mean to you?
Nate Boyer: Veterans Day for me is a time for us all to come together — veterans, civilians, families, everybody — to recognize those who have defended this country. In particular, it’s important to me that we honor the vets who didn’t come home to the same kind of appreciation that we get today, especially Vietnam vets. It’s also an important moment for vets to recognize each other and ourselves. It’s okay to receive that appreciation and pat yourself on the back; you’re somebody who was willing to make a sacrifice for their country.
YouTube: Your story is incredibly inspiring for many young people. What would you say to a kid who dreams of making it in the big leagues?
NB: I’m a testament that anything is possible. I’m not a great athlete. I’m good, but not great. I’m not very big. I was too old, too inexperienced. I had every reason to not even try. I knew I was capable, because of my experience in the military, and that’s what gave me the confidence to go all-in and chase my dream. But it’s important for all young people to know that they can keep plugging away, against all odds. Don’t quit, and you’ll get better every day. Be okay with the process and understand that it takes time to improve. It will happen.You will achieve some success and you will probably get a lot farther than you had imagined.
YouTube: How can we help?
NB: The cool thing about YouTube is that it helps you see what is possible. I had a dream that I wanted to make come true for myself, to play college football. People have dreams and crazy ideas, and they wonder if it’s possible to make it happen. On YouTube, you can find all kinds of examples of what other people have made happen for themselves, and it makes you believe that your dreams are possible, that there is a path you can follow. We’re all capable. We need to believe that we can take a chance to follow our dreams.
If you can dream it, you can YouTube it. If you can YouTube it, you can do it.
YouTube: What else have you learned from watching YouTube?
NB: I have learned all kinds of things around the house: how to replace the lightbulb in my headlight, putting together a bed, following recipes. I’m now working in film and television, and I even use YouTube to learn about acting and hosting. You can learn anything from YouTube.