As I answered the phone, I knew by the tone of the recruiting director's voice that he was concerned. I had missed the first lift of the summer camp while sitting with my old roommate at Cracker Barrel for breakfast. A feeling of nervousness and anxiety took hold of me as I began to talk my way through the situation. I imagined everyone I would be letting down if I chose to give up the dream.
Just then, I had the epiphany. I was in this situation for all the wrong reasons. The only thing that had kept me on this wild goose chase was to prove a handful of people wrong, and to make my family proud. Regardless of who I let down or let "win" because I chose to leave football was irrelevant. I was wasting the prime years of my life for a statement that was past the point of even mattering. I felt as if I was finally making the real decision for myself in years. The certainty that football was no longer a valid option.
I managed my way through the conversation to tell the recruiting director I was done with football. He wasn't necessary upset with me, but I could hear the disappointment through the phone. It was a call that ended years of hard work in an instant. It was if I had been born into a whole new life all at once, without the slightest clue as to what I would be doing the next day. Looking back, I had made the decision days before the phone call itself...I just was too afraid to face that facts.
I had refused to enter the locker room at Cincinnati for the fact that I knew if I saw the locker with my name on it, there would be no escaping the drive to continue to push forward. I also refused to schedule more apartment viewing appointments for the fact that I didn't want to be tied down to Cincy. I knew it was time to give up the dream, if I would even go as far to say it still was such a thing. I knew deep down that it was time to start living life on my own terms.
As I hung up the phone, I looked across the table at my roommate and said, "I did it....It's over." We continued to make small talk over the meal, and I mentioned that I would be staying in the apartment for a few days until things were straightened out to the point that I actually had a life plan. At this point, I wasn't even enrolled at a school that I was planning on attending.
Although my life seems to be in shambles, I had a sense of collectiveness that I hadn't felt in many years prior to that day. I knew that I would figure things out, but more importantly, I would figure them out for myself. I'd like to think that day was the first day I really began to think for myself, regardless of what other's may have thought of me. I created a identity unique to myself.