Texting my old roommates was one thing, but actually leaving the hotel was another. I knew how unlikely it would be for me to come back to Cincinnati if I made the decision to leave for the weekend. I decided to take a shower then make some additional calls before I made such a drastic decision. I stood in the shower thinking for what seemed like hours, just letting the water running over my head in an effort to begin thinking more rationally.
As I finished the shower and began to dry off, I decided to make a phone call to my Dad. He was the only one who saw my journey from start to finish. The early morning training, the workouts, the endless quantities of food I ate...if anyone were to have the valuable insight I needed, it would be him. As I spoke with my Dad, he insisted that I go the West Virginia to at least ensure that I was making the right decision. I could use the car ride to think of all the pros and cons of continuing to chase my dream.
As I hung up, I caught a glimpse of myself in the bathroom mirror. I was still slightly wet from the shower I had taken no more than ten minutes ago. It was then that I truly realized I was unhappy with my body. The lengths I had taken left access fat and stretch marks all over my body due to the rapid weight gain. It was something I rationalized to myself over and over, telling myself, "This is your dream Ben!" In truth, it was far from what I had ever expected the dream would be. I packed up my bags, checked out of the hotel, and went on my way back to West Virginia.
The three hour ride was quiet, I was hesitant to call any of my friends back in Chicago who had supported me on my journey, simply because I knew that they would know it was the end. As I pulled up to the apartment, I saw all of my old roommates' cars parked in front, just as they were months before. I walked in the door and Cody, Bjacks, and Isaiah all greeted me, sitting in their usual spots within the living room. They already knew that there was some serious talking to be done.
We held our debate about staying in Cincy, but I could tell they would rather have me back in WV...and not just to lower their rent. It was then that all the years of chasing my dream to become a star football player seemed to come to an end. It now felt like a job, just as they had all told me before. I was no longer trying to be the best for myself. I was rather playing football for my family, who had supported my endeavor to the very end. I was playing for all my high school classmates and coaches, who told me how I would never make it. My priorities were completely askew.
I was still hesitant to make a decision. I knew the answer, but I wanted to at least wait until the next day to know undoubtedly. I didn't have to be back in Cincy until Monday anyways. All I was doing was saving time that would otherwise be spent in a hotel room twiddling my thumbs. It was time to relax and unwind with my roommates.
Sunday came....and went. My decisions was final. I had to give up football in order to provide myself with the best future that I possibly could. Cody and I decided to talk about it over breakfast, more specifically Cracker Barrel. It was my favorite restaurant in all of Morgantown, which really isn't saying a whole lot about Morgantown's restaurant industry, but that's a whole other story. Just as we sat down, my phone rang. It was the director of recruiting.