Anyone that knows me can tell you that I am a HUGE football fan. So much so that I don’t only follow my hometown team, but regularly watch at least 3-4 games each week. With lucky opportunities to have been able to work with some of my favorite players, I find that the more you get to know the “man behind the mask,” the more invested you are in that player, and the more exciting it is to watch their games.
Recently, I had the chance to speak with Robbie Gould. The Chicago Bears placekicker is regularly referred to as “the best kicker the Bears have ever had.” Gould currently holds the title of being the third most accurate kicker in NFL history, and his seven seasons with at least 100 points is a Bears record. He is as passionate about philanthropy as he is about “being the best that has ever played the game.”
This weekend, teams finalized their 53-man rosters. Gould has been with the Chicago Bears for 9 years now. “It goes by fast that’s for sure. Playing for one organization is uncommon these days, especially with the new CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement). For me, playing in the city of Chicago with the best fans has been incredibly special.” There is nowhere else Gould would like to play, “The Chicago Bears organization is the dream team for me. I’d love to be here through the end of my career in the National Football League.” At the same time, Gould definitely gives credit to New England, “Another team that I also I admire and respect are the New England Patriots—it is where I got my start and owe a lot to them for giving me the opportunity to participate in training camp. That first experience and team really laid the groundwork for me and taught me so much about being a kicker in the National Football League.” Just how he came to Chicago is one of the best stories I have ever heard. “I was back in my hometown in Pennsylvania working for a construction company—it was just a normal day for me at that point. I kept receiving phone calls from the organization about coming to tryout and I thought it was my friends playing a joke on me, so I kept hanging up on them. I think it happened twice. Needless to say, it didn’t end up being a typical, normal day for me. That was the day that changed my life. I was on a plane that night heading to Chicago.”
He joins me in being a huge fan of the Windy City, telling me, “I love everything about Chicago! The sports, food, fans, weather (yes, even the winter). I think it is one of the best places to live and raise a family.” While I also love the food and the sports, I can’t say I agree with his love for our winters.
The City of Chicago definitely has a lot to offer, however, when it’s not too brutally cold to leave the confines of your own home. For Gould, a perfect day “would start out with a family breakfast at Wildberry, followed by a workout at Equinox. We would then head down to the city and spend the day as a family at the Lincoln Park Zoo (and if its winter, one of the Chicago museums) and a lunch at RJ Grunts. In the evening, take in a Chicago sporting event—Hawks, Cubs, Sox—any of them!” In 2013, Gould and his wife were blessed with their first child, a son. I often wonder if parents that play professional sports would like their children to follow in their footsteps, and I asked Robbie what he would say if his son wanted to play for the NFL. “If he came to me and said that, I think it would be great—it is a tough sport, but teaches you about perseverance, determination and the importance of being humble amidst success. When you are younger, I do think it is important to spend time playing several sports and being involved in different activities. The better-rounded you are when you are younger, the better you will be once you get to high school and college.”
You may be surprised to learn that Gould is almost as passionate about golf as he is about football. “I actually got into golf because of Brad Maynard and Patrick Mannelly—they are both outstanding golfers with low handicaps and quite frankly, I got tired of losing. Golf is fiercely competitive and I have developed a huge love for the game. Everything in golf relates to kicking a football—the game of golf helps me in football and gives me the competitive edge that I can take on the field with me. It has also been a great experience for me developing a relationship with Nike Golf. Over the past few years, I have been able to learn about new golf technology, the ins and outs of the game from the courses, new equipment, etc. I feel very fortunate.” Gould even mentions that if he weren’t playing in the NFL, “I would love to be a golf broadcaster and one day take over for a guy like Mark Rolfing (my mentor). I would also like to be a kicking consultant and continue working with my charity.”
Gould started his foundation, The Goulden Touch in 2011, with a mission to help those in need. As he tells it, “I am so grateful to be a player in the National Football League and the city of Chicago has given so much to me—I wanted to be able to find a way to give back to local programs and charities as much as I possibly could. I also think it is incredibly important to start teaching people at a young age the importance of giving back. The Goulden Touch has a structure where we can target all demographics to help fundraise and give back to the city of Chicago, and my hometown of Lock Haven, Pennsylvania.”
Gould told me more about his passion for helping others, “There are so many charities that are close to my heart—that is another reason why I started The Goulden Touch so I didn’t have to pick and choose between all of them. We work with such great charity partners through The Goulden Touch that I have a strong passion for. My mom and wife were educators and I believe that education should be number one. Another is the Cadence Health Foundation and partnering with Ronald McDonald House Charities and their pediatric wing—funds from our golf tournament currently benefit these programs. I always try my best to visit hospitals several times a year to help put a smile on someone’s face. I also love working with the Children’s Miracle Network. This past winter I participated in their Ace Hardware Shootout and was able to donate $50,000 to Lurie Children’s Hospital.”
Join me in cheering on Robbie and the Chicago Bears this season and let me know what others players you admire and would like to learn more about by tweeting along with me @lucyrk78
Learn more about Gould’s foundation, The Goulden Touch at the link below: