Achieving Your Dreams
It was early on a Sunday. I didn’t have preschool on the weekends, which was great because there was no stress of having to learn the alphabet or protect my animal crackers at lunch time.
I woke up thinking it would be a normal day. I thought I would get some waffles, maybe play on my new train set. My day went like that with a little variation.
My life was changed on that day.
I made my way downstairs with sleepy eyes. My dad and a few of his friends were downstairs, and I was wondering what they were doing over so early on a Sunday. They were cheering. I looked at the screen, and observed some sort of barbaric game, some abnormally large men throwing a ball around and destroying one another every other cut. I didn’t notice too much of the game, though. What I noticed was how inspired my dad and his buddies were by these men.
I suddenly realized that I wanted to be an inspiration to people like my dad, because he was inspiring to me.
I was signed up for flag football a few years later, and quickly began to nag my parents to upgrade me to the ranks of tackle. Flag was fun and all, but I figured that if I wanted to be like the inspiring guys on TV, I would need to learn how to hit people. The next year they signed me up.
During my Midget year of youth football, which was to be my last year, I made a decision that would steer my life in the most positive and uplifting direction it had ever gone. I decided to apply to De La Salle High School. I knew they had a great football program, but knew little else about the school. I was accepted, not really knowing what to think. I soon found out.
Jumping from freshman football into a very prestigious varsity program was one of the most challenging experiences of my life. However, looking back, the beating I got sophomore year was one of the driving forces for me to become a dominant linebacker as a junior. I understood that if I wanted to be one of those men on the TV I idolized as a preschooler, I had to improve. I came out and had a better year, and earned scholarships from a few Division I schools, including the school I’ve since committed to, Northwestern University.
Now I realize that my dream of the NFL is every kid’s dream, to play in front of thousands, with the best of the best. My dreams have since developed from “wanting to be in the NFL” to “wanting to be successful”.
The truth is, I just want to inspire people as people have inspired me. Whether my place in life is to be a big-time businessman, a doctor, or an NFL linebacker, I am forever grateful for the people who inspire me and help me achieve my dreams.
Editor's note: Declare a commitment to your dreams
The De La Salle Spartans football team knows achieving dreams takes dedication. At the start of every season, players fill out commitment cards declaring what they will accomplish during the coming months. It’s an approach you, too, can take as a first step to achieving your dream. Get started now by downloading a commitment card, just like the ones the Spartans use. Then, snap a picture of your declaration and share it with your friends – and use the #longlivedreams hashtag – so they can help keep you motivated.
Then catch “When the Game Stands Tall” – in theaters Aug. 22 – for the story behind De La Salle’s trek from perennial sub-.500 performances to undisputable national powerhouse. It’s a journey filled with hard work, dedication – and a commitment to a grand vision.
“Winning is just a by-product of many, many short-range goals that must be accomplished along the way.” – De Le Salle High School football coach Bob Ladouceur