by Kristin Watkins
Chris Sharp is a man of many talents. While most fans will know him as a running back for the Virginia football team, Sharp was raised to expand his horizons into many different facets.

“My parents tried to keep me well rounded,” Sharp said. “I played a lot of sports – football, basketball, ran track, played baseball when I was really young. I enjoyed playing tennis in my leisure time. And then aside from sports, I played instruments, stuff like that. I took piano lessons for a long time, I’m not very good though. I play the saxophone and then that’s about it.”

Not all of it was his idea.

“I was a little forced into that [the saxophone] but I enjoy it now,” Sharp said. “I played for three years, sixth, seventh and eighth grade. I still play a little bit yeah sometimes.”

But music is something that Sharp is very passionate about.

“I’m a big music guy,” Sharp said. “I’m into R&B and soul, so artists like Daniel Caesar, H.E.R, Summer Walker, and then you’ve got the rap side. You’ve got Drake, you’ve got Big Sean, Mac Miller, Rest in peace Mac Miller, and some others.”

Down the road, Sharp acknowledges that music could be a part of his future, but mostly he enjoys the impact it has on people.

“I would say I’m somewhat interested in it, but I just love the influence that they have on people, especially when they use that influence in a positive way,” Sharp said. “Because music is very influential, so you know whenever people use their blessings and their tools in a positive way, I like that.”

One way Sharp enjoys using his tools and combining his love for music is to write poetry.

“I don’t think I could sing,” Sharp said. “Some people say I sound nice sometimes. I think I sound good in the shower. I could write some poetry sometimes. So, I wouldn’t call myself a rapper or a poet, but I know how to put words on paper. It’s definitely therapeutic so I do that from time to time.”

Another way Sharp enjoys spending his time is challenging his mind with a little game of chess.

“I tell everybody I love playing chess,” Sharp said. “I play chess with Terrell Jana a lot. We have a lot of ongoing games. My dad taught me how to play chess when I was very young, probably like eight years old, I learned. I actually stopped playing, I didn’t play all throughout high school and then I got here and decided to pick it back up a little bit more, and now I play a lot. So, I’m not like a world class champion or anything like that but I love the game and the mindset you have to have- the strategic mindset- whether its offensive moves or defensive moves, it’s just ongoing so I love that.”

The strategy that it takes to play a game chess is something that Sharp thinks translates pretty well to the game he loves.

“It’s actually very closely tied to football,” Sharp said. “You’ve got your pawns that sometimes you have to sacrifice, and you have to protect your king, and you place that in the context of your players on the field and your quarterback is the king or you could take the organization as a whole and the head coach that’s your king. Whatever way you want to put it, it’s definitely synonymous.”

Sharp attributes everything he has learned and the skills he has developed to his family.

“I’m a big family-oriented guy, I love my family,” Sharp said. “I have my mom, my dad, an older sister and an older brother, I’m the youngest. I get the baby treatment, It’s lovely. My biggest influence is my family. Everything I do I want to make them proud so I would say that’s my why. That’s why I keep going. I’m just trying to make them happy and make them proud.”

Already a graduate of Virginia, Sharp is ready to take on whatever challenge comes next to continue to make his family proud.

“The end goal is to be an athletic director,” Sharp said. “Getting to that point, I’m not sure what I want to do whether it be teaching or coaching or a job directly in athletic administration. I’m still trying to figure that out, but that’s the goal. I like to have an influence on people and help them in any way that I can and with coaching you can do that and incorporate sports at the same time and make people a better person or make somebody a better person through sports it’s like the perfect combination. That’s what I’d love to do so that’s what my goal is there- just influencing and helping young people thrive, that’s my passion, that’s what I’d love to do.”

With the season at its halfway point, Sharp still has some influence that he can have on the UVA football team. He has taken on the role as a leader on the team and when describing his personality with his teammates, that one word is the best to describe him “well-rounded.”

“I would say I like to oscillate,” Sharp said. “There’re times where I can be serious, there’s times where you know, like I said, I like to relieve tension and joke around a lot but there’s definitely moments where it’s time to buckle down and it’s time to be serious. So, I would say like well rounded. That’s the best thing I can come up with so yeah that’s what I would say.”