The following was written as part of WordPress’ Daily Prompt series:
When you were 10, what did you want to be when you grew up? What are you? Are the two connected?
…I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. When I was in my earlier youth (I’m still relatively young) I really wanted to be in the NFL. That’s kind of a common dream though, right? I mean there are quite possibly millions of young kids out there who will stare out their classroom window this fall and dream of taking the final snap in the Super Bowl, scoring the winning touchdown and then screaming “I’m going to Disney World,” into the nearest, readily available camera. We all want the glory. I mean, who wouldn’t?
But it never totally came from that place for me. The looming reason of why I wanted to be a football player was never a inherent love for the game or predisposition for competition (although, Ironically, it developed both of them). It always came from this fear of dying and being forgotten.
The idea was: get really good, win tons of awards, get voted into the hall. A hall. Any hall. Something where people, 100 years down the road, could walk up to a plaque and read about my life. What I have been thinking about lately is how that fear has driven me and how I have reworked that plan time after time.
I never played football past my freshman year In high school. I got my ass kicked constantly. Like every day. I was slow, fat and weak. Not a good combination for a sport like football. So in my sophomore season I transitioned from defensive tackle to equipment manager/ assistant coach. I figured I would learn as much as I could about the game and make my way into the league via that route. I would become a coach.
My journey went fairly far while traveling that path. I got a job out of high school as an Equipment manager with the University of New Mexico and for four seasons I was able to witness how a Division One FBS school is operated. During that time I picked up irreplaceable knowledge of the game.
But even my time at New Mexico would end prematurely. My grades slipped and I would be kicked off the team and be forced to reevaluate the plan I had once laid out. Quite honestly, getting kicked out of that school was one of the best things that ever happened to me. It forced me to work harder, to choose the path less traveled and define my course in life.
What would come to happen (after an internship in Walt Disney World – really a whole other topic) is I would change my major from business to English. I have always had a love for literature and a decent ability as a writer – I figured I could gain my immortality that way. Write something meaningful that would last forever. I would utilize the words of one of Shakespeare’s most famous sonnets:
“So long as man can breathe, and eyes can see
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.”
So I started writing ( and reality, I’ve kept writing) and eventually, I found my way back to a football field again. I would end up covering UNM’s football team for the Community College in Albuquerque. Some how I always keep getting pulled back.
After the community college and being denied re-admittance into UNM, that is when I developed Remembering Homicide Victims with my friend Lori, because of the situation she was in. The morosely fortunate thing was that it fit into who I am and what drives me. I am deathly afraid of not having my story told that I tell the stories of people who can’t.
I guess all of that leads into now. I’m back in Massachusetts working on the last bit of my bachelors degree and, true to form, coaching football at a local high school. Is it the apex of what I yearned to do when I was 13? No. Am I still around (and working to be around) the thing(s) that I developed to love? Yeah. I guess that is what dreams do. They help you figure out what is important to you. Even if it is for purposes of immortality.