As I finished up eating away my sorrows in the hotel room, I took the time to text my old roommates back in West Virginia to let them know my big move was a sure thing. Months ago, when I told them I was going to leave the apartment, they were persistently tried to stop me. There were numerous discussions about how football wasn't worth the time and effort that I was putting into it. In the end, it was always seen as just a job for them. That was something I could never truly comprehend. Football was always a dream of mine.
The reason that I had originally became roommates with them was due to my performance as an incoming freshman. Every Friday, all the freshman, walk-ons, and non-travelers of the team were put through "Friday Workouts". During this time, all of the players who at least had any chance of playing were relaxing and walking through plays for the upcoming game. The others were sentenced to the most painful and demanding workouts you could imagine.
Players were then placed into groups depending how well they were doing in the gym as well as with their conditioning. Coming into West Virginia, I was one of the most well prepared players to come out of high school. This allowed me to be the only walk on placed within the group of the best freshman prospects, three of them turned out to be my future roommates.
As my spring semester of my freshman year came to a close, all the freshman who were forced to live in dorms went on the hunt for apartments to live in. It was a routine that happened every year. The incoming freshman would often bond together in groups of three or four and find off-campus housing before the start of summer camp. I had already become great friends with a teammate named Cody. He was my primary option for the first potential roommate.
Cody was one of the first people that had spoken to me on the day I arrived at the stadium. He was a tall blonde-headed kid with a bowl cut that was always constantly smiling, born and raised in West By God Virginia. Cody was recruited as a tight end...or a offensive lineman, at the time we were still fairly unsure. He was in the group of freshman who came earlier in the summer so they could have the additional experience with the team if they were chosen to become a true freshman that would see the field. At the time, I didn't think much of it, but we introduced ourselves enough to know who each other was outside of the stadium.
I later found out that we were in the same biology class for my first semester. This was the catalyst to our friendship. Although we were both constantly exhausted from morning lifts before the 8:30 class, we would always go down to the local cafeteria and grab breakfast beforehand. Neither of us had much in common other than we happened to play football together, yet we managed to get along well enough that we would spend much of our free time together our freshman year.
Cody introduced me to the idea of moving in with my other teammates Brandon and Isaiah. I hardly knew them even though we were in the same Friday workout group. At first, I felt as if they were more interested in the idea of moving in with Cody. I would just part of the package deal.
Let's start with Brandon, better known as "Bjacks". He was an offensive lineman recruited out of Cleveland. He was easily one of the most intimidating freshman on the team when I first arrived due to his shear size. One of the first times we actually had a conversation was on our way to the apartment complex's main office to sign the lease. Out of the roommates, I felt as if he was the most relatable. I would later find out that not only is he one of the most genuine people I have ever met, he also has the ability to get along with almost anyone he meets.
Isaiah was the oldest of all of us, and he most definitely acted like it. Although he was in the same grade, he was held back a year in order to raise his recruiting stock as a linebacker. To this day, I am still unsure if he is from Boston or Jacksonville...strange, I know. Regardless, Isaiah was just about the best you could be at any activity. He constantly beat us in just about every activity you could list. Video games, chess, and even a game of mini golf to win flat screen TV that we all pitched in to buy...oddly enough, no one remembered that later on. He was a man of business.
All of us where incredibly different from each other, yet we seamlessly managed to get along very well. We each brought our own unique quality to the apartment/town house. (I still don't know what to actually call the place.) We could easily spend hours in the living room just talking about practice, girls, classes, and anything else typical college football players are concerned about.
When I decided to leave the apartment for community college I put them in a rather difficult situation. They would be forced to pay a higher rent, due to my absence, until they were able to find a new roommate. I agreed to help with my share until they found someone. As the semester came to a close, they were still unable to find a suitable fit. They were then left to splitting the rent amongst themselves.
As I sat alone in the hotel room reading my old roommates' responses about my big move, it made it all that much more difficult to stay cooped up for the next few days. So when they suggested that I swing by for a visit during my weekend off before summer lifts began that Monday, it seemed like a much better use of time than looking at overpriced apartments in Cincy. I made the decision to go.