The Game of Football Gave Me Life

The game of football to many may look like a bunch of overgrown men running around in pads just trying to score a touch downtown but to me this game is life. Since I could remember as a kid I’ve always wanted to play football. I used to sit in my living room and watch the Redskins and the University of Maryland play any chance I got. My dad and uncles used to take me to Redskins park during training camp so I could see them practice. I remember watching Darrell Green run around thinking he was insanely fast. I grew up for a while idolizing LaVar Arrington for his play on the football field. I thought he was awesome and used to wear his jersey around everywhere.

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While the game has not always been good to me it has taught me more than anyone will ever know. Football is the ultimate team sport but it teaches you more about individuals than you would think. Trust in football is the #1 if you can’t trust the man next to you to do what he is supposed to do on every play how are you to trust him in life and vice versa.  Much of my success in business I could have never achieved without the lessons I have learned from the game because football brings together individuals from different walks of life together to accomplish one goal and business is the same way.

Football has also blessed me with putting several male figures in my life that have pushed man to become a better man. While my father was a great role model growing up, my coaches gave him great support. Enforcing what he was saying at home. My coaches growing up like Coach Ward, Kelly, Patterson and Gillespie to name a few all made sure I was always pushed.

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Down But Not Out

I went to one of the best high schools money could buy in Washington DC. However, my high school experience was far different than most. While I was often times extremely cocky, I was no different than your average high school football player who was destined to play for a D-1 University. My story is far more distinctive than most. In high school I often experienced bullying. However, my experiences with bullying further demonstrates what no child should have to go through.

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My senior year my life changed forever on a Friday afternoon at a pep rally on the football field. All faculty and staff were filing into the stands. It was the day before we were set to play against our crosstown rivals, Gonzaga. It was also my first game back after missing three games because of a high ankle sprain. As we walked in the announcer began to call out each of our names one by one. The seniors were last and I was the last of all the seniors to have my name called. As my name was called the entire school as well as my teammates booed me for what felt like 30 minutes. I have thought about this moment for a long time and the only rational explanation that I have come up with, is that many of those students worked their entire lives, and had been told that academics trumps everything and if you work hard enough in school you will get into whatever school you desire.

My circumstances were completely different, I wasn’t the best student but I excelled at football. While all of these students were waiting to get answers back from institutions and stressing about schools and what paths their lives were going to take, my life had already been decided. Outside of every class during the month of November my senior year college coaches lined the hallways to get five minutes of my time as I walked to my next class. Looking back on this now I would have hated me too. While others dedicated themselves to school I dedicated myself to the game of football and was rewarded. Every athlete in high school lives for the moment to be recognized in front of their entire school for his or her accomplishments their senior year. When that moment came for me, I truly believe those students let out their envy and frustrations towards me.  They were all laughing including coaches, teachers and administrators because that was the only way they knew how to accept my successes.  

The only person that wasn’t there for the joke was a lady named Ms. Younger. She looked at me and knew that inside it was eating me alive. After the event was over I played it off the best I could, even holding back tears. As I began to walk back to the locker room I remember looking at the ground to be sure no one could see the emotions on my face. Then one of my coaches said something to me as trivial as my beard not being trimmed and I retorted with a  sarcastic comment which resulted with me receiving detention. My head coach at the time endorsed his decision because of my “lack of respect”. At that moment all I was looking for was just the smallest sense of empathy like “Are you alright Kevin?”, and I couldn’t even get that.

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As I continued to walk off the field with my head down I heard a voice calling my name, it was Ms. Younger who was the school counselor, and most likely the sole person who helped me graduate from high school. As she walk towards me with her arms open she knew the pain I was experiencing. She gave me a quick hug and told me to come with her. Before letting me go she whispered in my ear “Don’t let them see you sweat.” Please explain to me why on that day, out of the 1,000 students in the stands, the 200 administrators, teachers and staff only one woman showed compassion at a place where the schools values are built off of respect and compassion? How is it that at a distinguished Lasallian school, something like this could happen?

Now don’t get me wrong I’ve been booed before. I’ve walked into stadiums  where 100,000 people will boo me just because of the jersey and school I attend, but I must ask, is this how people are suppose to treat one another? On that day I learned a valuable lesson of compassion and respect for others. I will never go out of my way to make someone’s life and living hell just because I’ve been through it and back. That day will forever be apart of me and in a funny way I’m appreciative that it happen because it has made me so much stronger.

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When do we have enough money?

Have you ever thought about what motivates you? Well i have and it’s relatively simple. It’s money and I am not ashamed to say it. As much as everyone would suspect, money truly does in fact run this world. In the entertainment industry money is the heart the pumps blood throughout virtually everything we see. Including but not limited to; our tv’s, on billboards, bus stops, devices, the list is just continuous. Money surrounds us regardless of what we do to indulge ourselves or attempt to run away from it. Some may say money doesn’t buy happiness but I believe it sure does enhance it. Has anyone ever stopped and asked you “at what point will you have enough money?” While some people can give you a direct answer to that question with specificity others could never dream of a number. The possibilities are endless.

       Have you ever heard of a man by the name of Warren Buffett? This man has more money than one can fathom. He has the ability to walk away at any time and stop working but he chooses not too. Crazy, right? Have you ever thought of why? I would think that he doesn’t because he loves the sensation of making money. However, he probably sticks with it because at a point money is more of an object than anything. It justifies risk taking and is a benchmark for success. Do you remember when you got your first paycheck? Maybe it was only a hundred but felt like so much more than that. But now if you received the same check you would be infuriated. Our world has now become addicted to this feeling. We as humans are no longer just happy for having $100,000, we want as well as expect $200,000. Once we get that, we want more. There is truly no end. For a lot of us there will never be enough. There will never be an amount we get to that makes us happy and want to step away and look at the bigger picture.

       As we all continue to keep up with the Jones’ this desensitization will continue to occur. Once we see our neighbors with the newest gadget we immediately want it and this cycle continues.Every Day in the media we are constantly bombarded with athletes, celebrities and entertainers that are going broke and bankrupt. Most of the time athletes and celebrities go broke because they try to keep up with their peers and give the appearances of stability even though they are living way above their means.

Having money is great but we must understand that money is a means to other things. We need to put our egos in check and understand the true value. While reading this I hope it makes you think about money in a more realistic way. How much would it take for you to have enough?

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