My first year of college came to me as a bit of a shock. After spending my whole life surrounded by the same group of friends from kindergarten all the way through high school, I had really no idea what to expect. I only imagined how different West Virginia was going to be in comparison to South Side Chicago. I convinced myself that even if it was hell, I would stick with it. I wanted to prove everyone who had ever doubted me wrong. I refused to let them win and prevent me from dreaming big. (I now look back knowing I was making this journey for all the wrong reasons.)
I arrived at West Virginia University two weeks before school started due to my invitation to join the football team. As soon as I arrived, I was weighed and put through physical tests...all the normal procedures to see if I really was an athlete. I was never given the opportunity to miss home.
I can still remember walking into the locker room for the first time and looking for my name on the depth chart. Of course, I was placed on the scout team just like all the other freshman and walk ons. I was essentially going to be a human practice dummy for all of camp.
After meeting with most of the players my age, I felt optimistic about my upcoming year. However, as many other times in my life, I did run into the occasional individual that didn't necessarily see eye to eye with me...and of course I was much more hard headed than I am today.
One particular day following practice I went through the usual routine and sat down with my fellow freshman for dinner. One of them wasn't particularly fond of me. He continuously asked me why I was "wasting my time", but the one thing that continues to stick with me to this day is the fact that he called me a "nobody that wouldn't amount to anything."
He may have been right. Following camp, I started classes with the attitude that I could just breeze through classes just as I did with high school. The fact that attendance wasn't mandatory only encouraged me to go back to bed after the 6:30 team lift. Within the first month of classes, I knew my grades weren't going to be the ones that I wanted.
Although my school ambitions were not where the needed to be, I continuously worked my ass off in the weight room. I quickly became one of the stronger players on the team, however, with the same mindset of eating everything I possibly could to get bigger that I had in high school, my speed and endurance definitely began to decline. Midway through my freshman year I consistently weighed in at 260 pounds.
Now in high school I did my best to follow a straight path. I wasn't much of a drinker at all, but I have to be honest, my freshman year of college did not go anywhere near what I had anticipated in high school. I was basically just a body to beat around on the practice field, my grades were horrendous, and although I was excelling in the weight room, my athletic ability was slowly diminishing. This led to my short drinking phase.
As I said before, I rarely ever drank throughout my years in high school. It's not that it was unavailable to me, it was more the fact that I hated the idea of not being in full control of my decisions. I had been around drunk people all my life. Quite honestly, some of the only successful businesses on the South Side happen to be bars, and although my parents seldom drank around me, I was always exposed to it. I had friends in grade school that started drinking in 7th/8th grade...but just as many of my other positive habits faded, so did my will against drinking.
One particular night my freshman year, I feel as if I had hit my first rock bottom. I was out with a few other teammates as well as my dorm roommate (who was not on the team) on a Saturday night. We were the players that the team had left behind on campus because they were limited to a certain number of players to bring to away games. Although I did suit up for home games to help with warm ups, I was not an active traveling player. We did what any irresponible freshmen did on campus, got drunk and walked up to the fraternities in search of a party.
As soon as we arrived at our destination, I knew that it was going to be a rough night. We walked into the house uninvited, and immediately started to search for plastic cups for the keg, of which the frat was charging to cover its cost. All the other players weren't up for the idea of paying to drink so they left my roommate and I...just as my roommate had accidentally bumped into the head member of the frat.
So let's break down the situation here...we have me (a 260 pound 18 year old South Side hard-ass) and my roommate (an 18 year skin and bones runner) surrounded by an entire fraternity. I kid you not, it was like one of those moments you have in a movie where the guest bumps into the wrong guy, the music stops, and everyone goes outside.
As soon as I heard the demands of the head member of the frat asking for my roommate to apologize for "pushing" him, I knew there was going to be a fight. I offered to even shake his hand and walk away...he offered for me to go home before he counted to five.
The moment his lips began the form the "Ffffff" in five, I tackled this man harder than I had tackled someone in my life. So hard in fact that we went up the step on the porch, across the porch itself, and straight into the brick wall of the house. Luckily for me, my face prevented in the impact of hitting the brick wall for the rest of my body. As you can imagine, my nose did not hold up well. Of course, when the other members saw me tackle the head member they only had one thought..."we have to jump these kids."
**Thank you for taking the time to read today's post. Blog posts will be made available every day at 7pm CST. They will feature my own personal journey, recipes, workout routines, & much more!**