I love football because it’s about teamwork. It’s truly a game of inches. If you’re a split second too soon or too late, it’s the difference between a touchdown and a pick six.
But, I did it anyway. I loved the game; I was part of the team.
The summer prior to my senior year in high school, I remember being only one of 2 or 3 guys in the in the weight room consistently, I was up at 5 am – three days a week, doing drills during the spring in college - while the rest of the campus slept in. It makes me angry when I hear about guys at the big schools who get kicked off their team or arrested, because they squander their opportunity with stupidity. I would have given a lot for an opportunity to play at a Division I school.
Throughout my 13 years of football, I was injured twice – once in my junior year in high school and once in my senior year of college. By the second injury, I knew my years of playing the game had come to an end. Sure, I felt sorry for myself for a while. Like any long term relationship, there was a mourning period, but I got over it and moved on.
But, I was still involved. I wasn’t giving up because I was hurt. I just wanted to make a difference. I went to practices, traveled with the team and attended game days, just as fired up as if I were dressed in uniform.
It made me feel alive to be there and be a part of something. It gave me purpose.
I think the total experience has given me an appreciation for life. I firmly believe that we don’t fully appreciate something, until we have to work for it. No matter the outcome.
Hard work, alone, doesn’t make us better people. It doesn’t mean we will win. But it does give us an opportunity to be a part of something – something we can appreciate because we worked hard for it.