As the summer began I became more and more anxious for my big move to Cincinnati. The fact that I began to talk more and more with my old high school girlfriend made my decision to leave Chicago even more difficult. I wasn't necessarily happy with the rebirth of the old high school relationship, as I said before, we had very different interests outside of each other. However, it was nice to have someone in my life in which I could spend time with, and more importantly, relive memories in which I had been my happiest in life.
One would think that my selection to go to Cincinnati was an act of pure randomness. That was not the case. The decision to go to Cincinnati was a product of many past events. It was to be redemption in its finest form.
The thoughts of becoming a Bearcat all started with the initial end of my high school relationship while I was in West Virginia. It was evident that my ex was more interested in greek life than making any effort to maintain a long distance relationship. Though let's be honest, how could I blame her?
You're only eighteen once in your life, and that precious time can be spent in better ways than sending out texts saying how much you missed each other or trying to rationalize that there wasn't the temptation to be seeing someone else. Looking back, it was time that I wasted. I was simply grasping at straws trying to make things work. Although the relationship we had was nonexistent, it was something for me to get me through the football season to fall and winter break.
Regardless of how I feel about the situation now being five years older, I felt completed betrayed while it was happening. So much so, that I felt the ultimate redemption would be to beat her university's team in football. (Completed absurd I know, but I was eighteen so give me a break.) All the weight gain, all the eating...it was all an effort to get back at my ex. It didn't matter what I felt about my self image. Unfortunately West Virginia and the University of Illinois were never scheduled to played each other...but Cincinnati was.
The other nonexistent relationship I was simultaneously dealing with was my head coach. Holgorsen did want many would expect, he invested his time working with the players responsible for helping him win games. I never fit into that category. When asked about how I got along with him, I always gave the same answer..."fine". Not that I didn't find him to be a coach fit for the job, I just felt as if I never was given any assurance from him as to if I made the right decision to play for West Virginia.
The third from last regular season game West Virginia played Cincinnati. I was forced to watch the game back in Morgantown because it was an away game and I didn't travel with the team. However, this was an incredibly important game for the team to win in order to stand a chance of winning the Big East Conference. Although West Virginia won the game, as the season came to a close we were forced to share the title as Big East Champion with both Cincinnati and Louisville. During the days of the BCS, West Virginia ultimately robbed Cincinnati of their opportunity to play in the Orange Bowl with the help of a couple computers.
Ironically enough, following the completion of the Orange Bowl I had a layover on my way back home to Chicago for winter break...in no place other than Cincinnati. While waiting for my flight home I was constantly reminded by others in the airport of the robbery that West Virginia had committed to get into the bowl game. Although that it is fairly wishful thinking, due to the fact that we had indeed beat UC fair and square, it did allow my brain to wander as to how I would want to help the Bearcats achieve their revenge on the Holgorsen and the Mountaineers.
So with summer soon coming to a close I began accepting my role as a Cincinnati football player. It was not until I had received a phone call from the director of recruiting that any thoughts of leaving football even crossed my mind. I was told I needed to be in Cincinnati early, just a few days following that important phone call.