On this day, we memorialize the death of a dream; another young high school athlete’s unexpected loss of his athletic future. A talented young man with a 3.4 GPA and aspirations of playing college football have been quickly and surprisingly laid to rest. A seemingly “normal” ache and pain could no longer be ignored and a devastating diagnosis followed, osteogenic sarcoma of the femur. For the people closest to him, the empty feeling in the pit of their stomachs, will ache more than the early pains of the disease. So many are left behind to mourn the loss, college football fans that will never see him play the game he loves, Division I colleges vying for his talent, and his parents who will endure long drives to and from treatment and countless sleep deprived nights sitting with their son praying for a miracle. Fortunately, for this young man, he did not risk everything on one endeavor. Although, football is no longer his primary concern, he surrounded himself with the most important lessons from the game. Football is not only about the game on the field, it is about the life lessons that it teaches. His determination, strength, bravery, heart, courage, character and perseverance will help him in this dire situation. The honesty he has with himself and others will help his recovery and his acceptance of this incurable disease. His determination to live and fight for his life speaks volumes of his character. People outside the football world often believe players are mean, insensitive, and aggressive and will amount to very little in life, but the opposite is actually true. Student athletes are frequently kind, sensitive and smart. At a very young age, they learn kindness, sportsmanship, camaraderie, teamwork, and sacrifice. Unfortunately, it is a sport with aggression but it is a controlled aggression. This young athlete did not lose his dream because an on field injury but a dormant disease activated in his body for an unknown reason. He is a shining example of the death of his football dream does not mean his life is over and because of football he has learned life lessons to endure and create a new dream, not turn tail and run. Although, we will lay his first dream to rest today, I am confident he is already working towards an alternate plan.
Death of a Dream
June 3, 2011