Jerry is not very big for football; and he continues to get pounded at the football practice. However he keeps trying. He continues to play the game. In the novel it says Jerry is nauseous and short of breath but he wants the most important position on the team. The recruiter sees Jerry as independent and a "tough one".
Even though it is just football, it reveals a person's character. For example, how a person plays football shows their competitive spirit and their ability to work as a team as well as their tenacity. Like a war, football is a team endeavor and most of all , the players cannot quit. In war, the soldiers have to keep getting up and keep fighting over and over again in order to win. They have to "take a pounding and never quit".