Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Too Soon

This world is evil, vile, unforgivable.Mamas crying because all the baby boys are dying, too soon.No more hide and seek, freeze tag, or catching lightining bugs.All the youngins are too busy trying not to get hit by a hot slug,They selling drugs to get by.Stressed out by 10, since 11 they been getting high.Why so soon?Can't we stop this world from being so evil, vile, unforgivable, at least give the children time to make it out the womb?It's too soon for too many, too often.Is it too much to expect a change before it becomes too much.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Keep It Real

It’s taken me awhile to come to terms with this feeling of emptiness that has defined my existence for the past few years. It started after I injured my knee. I had just got to the point where I felt like I was in control of the sitation. I can recall taking a second during a game in Washington, and saying to myself “you got this down”. I was running with top draft picks stride for stride, making plays. I could see my goal coming closer and then it was taken away with a catastrophic knee injury. I can close my eyes and see myself crying on the field, in disbelief. Years of hard work flashed before my eyes, I knew that I would never be able to play the game the same.

Until now I could not articulate my emotions, nor enumerate the contributing factors to what has been a losing battle. I have felt hollow, empty, in a daze. My time on this earth has been extraordinary by most standards. Between my athletic ability and academic standing, I was always told that I would be able to write my own ticket. I tried for awhile to not buy in to the talk, to maintain a humble outward demeanor, but never seemed to be quite successful. People would often link arrogant and demanding to my personality, sometimes with good reason. The irony is that in my mind everything I had was expected. My parents raised me to believe I was special, and that it was my duty to attain high status within this world. The reality is that I never considered myself to be anything more than what I was supposed to be, that my experiences were different from others was God’s will… not my own. My goal was to exceed the exceptional because anything less would have been a disservice to the talents that had been bestowed upon me.

Now that I am disconnected from that lifestyle, I feel a yearning for the attention that came with the limelight. I was always the first to state how I didn’t care what others thought of me, that I did not do things to impress others. For the most part those were true, but not entirely. I like having people expect great things of me, to know who I am when I walk in the room, to live under the microscope. I thrive under the pressure and relish the responsibility. Losing that is a life altering experience.

I spent my whole life preparing for the time when I could no longer play ball. I ran organizations, did my classroom work, and secured internships. I worked to fight the dumb jock assumption, it was my hobby. Football was my passion; it was where I excelled and gained the self confidence to deploy in the other aspects of my life. Since that outlet has gone away I have struggled to find a complementary source. I have become so distracted that I am incapable of sustaining relationships. It is difficult to trust when you don’t feel like you are worth much.

This emotional state is not unique to me. Many former athletes go through this period of uncertainty. How many examples of athletes who tried to play beyond their time can you account? What about instances where former athletes have been in trouble with the law for aggressive acts of violence? Even the more functional career paths like color commentary and front office executives, are often feeding their inner psyche by maintaining a passive connection to the game. I consider going after one of these types of roles, but I can’t see it doing the trick. I need something where I am truly enacting change in how others conduct their lives on a day to day basis. I need to feel valued to the point that people shut up when I start talking. The only problem is that I can’t think of where my role in society is set to play out. I’m still working on that.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

All I Want

I want to be in church, I want children, I wantsex, I want to travel, I want to exercise, I want you to exercise, Iwant me time, I want us time, I want you to have you time, I want tobe financially stable, I want to be practical with our spending, Iwant to spoil you sometimes, I want to us to make a big deal aboutholidays and birthdays, I want to be challenged mentally inconversation, I want to be able to depend on you, I want you to dependon me, I want you to trust me, I want to be the first person you go towith a problem, I want you to be the first person I go to with aproblem, I want you to understand me, I want to understand you, I wantto be able to want more stuff and you be willing to work with me, Iwant you to be satisfied with me FOREVER.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Red October

October 2007 will go down as one of the most impactful months of my life. It was a time of travel, kicking it with the family, and focusing on what's going to be important as I "Transition" into making my impact on this world.

I started the month in The Dominican Republic, getting my passport stamped for the first time. I headed down with 21 others to work with Habitat for Humanity on a 35 home construction project. One of the first things that stuck out is how what's done here with CAT construction equipment, is done with shovels, back picks, and wheel barrels in the DR. This is only one example of how everyday things that we have come to expect as a way of life are not accessiable in other countries. We learn early on that food, water, and shelter are essential needs, but there electricity and drinkable water are luxuries for many that live in what we call 3rd world countries.

The most impactful contribution the group of 22 made was delivering a year's worth of Pur packets to aid in the manipulation of the trapped rain water into purified safe drinking water for the students. The children were so lively, they left me wishing that there was more that I can do. This project has taken on even greater significance given the hurricane that struck the country a few weeks after we left. I recieved a note from our Habitat team lead speaking to this topic directly;

"Due to the storm the country is in greater mess, with 84 dead person, 48 missing, including a community that was swept by a river, others that were floaded with mud,many broken avenues and brigdes, and an announced that we will not have clean water from around 2 weeks due to the contamination the rivers has been exposed to, and I just want to say: thanks,because today I realiced that your contribution represents a big gift to this community, none of us knew that this storm was comming at all, you never want or expect this things to happen, but in the midst of the pain and confusion and vulnerability, its good to know that with our ideas we can make a difference. "

This experience was humbling and has helped me better understand my responsibility to get out and work to improve my community. It will be awhile before I take another trip. My next focus will be in being of more of an impact where I live. There are little boys and girls growing up in infected enviornments. In a land of opportunity, we must work to ensure that everyone gets there fair chance at a decent life. I want everyone to have a chance to see the things I did.

Wes got older... my too. Both of their birthdays were a good reminder of how great of a family I have. There is nothing like being able to enjoy a meal with your family.

Mama Sent This

God will accomplish whatever He wants. He may do it in a traditional sense or in a non-traditional sense. He may do it right now or years later. But there is one thing you should learn if you are going to succeed in any endeavor, particularly in the things of God. You have to have an open mind.