Hopefully you found the time to enjoy the holidays this year, taking time to slow down and celebrate. With the constant influx of new information and intimidating statistics, I hope you’ve also found ways to free your mind and enjoy life. I look forward to 2022 being a big one, which brings me to today’s conversation. Every year, like most, I try to pick a word to set the tone for the year.
Last year, my word was manifest, meaning to show or display or create or grow. To make certain aspects of my life more apparent. I feel at peace with how that went in 2021, especially in maintaining and building relationships. I also feel like it became extremely relevant on the baseball field for me, being able to show what I can bring to the table by being myself. It was an authentic year of creation and showing an appreciation for what’s important to me. As we move into 2022, it’s time for us to pick a new word.
For this year, I’ve settled on trailblaze, meaning to make a trail where there wasn’t one.
To me, it’s a word that can reach into every aspect of my life. First and foremost, like always, I prioritize relationship building. As I’ve grown, I’ve seen how life starts to intertwine with all-things relationship wise. Everyone starts to have refined ideas of what their goals are, and therefore take their own paths to achieving them. Some people fall off the tracks due to fear or inability to adapt. This is a pivotal time in my life where the boundaries of existing and new relationships get tested. The goal here with family, friends, acquaintances, or strangers is to make relationships that aren’t there yet. Explore existing relationships in new ways, learn something new from an old friend. Ask questions to all and try to build up pieces of relationships that will draw us closer as life attempts to drift us apart.
In the ways of faith – my faith – trailblazing is particularly evident, it’s just not called that. It’s evident to the point of discomfort, to the point of believing in things that you cannot see or understand, and maybe even question. You have to believe that you’re taking a path that isn’t tangibly there, which is difficult for anyone. The stories of the Bible that affect us the most are pure stories of creating a belief that didn’t exist and changing the world with it. To continue to grow my faith in this year, especially in the trying times of today, it takes doing things that others don’t.
For myself, it’s pivotal to realize that not everybody else is going to understand. If, by definition, I am choosing to make a trail where there wasn’t one, then I have to live by what I believe – not by what others don’t see. Most of the time, self-betterment doesn’t have room to include other people. They don’t get it. They try to stop it. They feel insecure about remaining stagnant. Don’t let anyone else get in the way of what you see possible.
I feel that I’ve embarked upon a handful of endeavors that are ultimately set to defy the standards of those around me. It starts with something like this website. There aren’t traditional publications like this anywhere. I hear it all of the time. I get fulfilled by the stories of these writings getting shared and appreciated by people who need them. I always set out on this journey to maybe change a few perspectives on life. I’ve always tried to provide people with new ways to think and grow, while also seeking their thoughts and perspectives.
I’ve also taken a plunge into the pool of name, image, likeness legislation with both feet. So much so that The Baltimore Sun took notice: https://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/college/bs-sp-maryland-college-athletes-nil-deals-20211227-5k7i3srrpfhy3gagw2eqfgmjjq-story.html
I’ve done a relatively groundbreaking job with that, but we are looking at the tip of the iceberg. After meeting with the leadership at Route One Apparel, we have decided to move forward with various collaborative merchandise sales, on pace for a February release. In addition to that, what most fail to realize is that NIL gives us the ability to create our own business ventures. With the correct thoughts and ideas bouncing around in my head, I feel like I am close to changing the game for myself and a handful of my peers. There should be more to come on that in the coming weeks.
Something I also take immense pride in is getting to represent Towson University and their athletic program. As a local boy, I’ve come to understand how special it is to represent this institution at this level. I had an array of meetings with panels of leadership in the athletic department about increasing our local engagement. How do we make it a priority for kids, families, fans, recruits, and community members alike to have pride in being around Towson? There is no reason in my mind why we should be second fiddle to any other school in anyone’s mind. This is the year where those ideas change. We have the ability to show everyone what staying home and winning is supposed to look like.
Socially, I’ve always been the trailblazer. And by that, I mean I’m always the driver. I don’t discuss it much because it’s not a personality trait. I also don’t think I have any right to anoint myself as the patron saint of willpower, but I still don’t drink. I’ve always had the mentality that it’s just not worth it. There are far too many permanent consequences from temporary feelings. Now it’s just reached the point of being pointless, not much reason to start now. Is this a vital aspect of life? No. However, in a lifestyle where it’s not only accepted but encouraged, it’s my example to you about sacrifice. Me saying this is less of a ‘look at me’ anecdote, and more of a ‘you can do it’ example. For me, setting out to do productively defiant things becomes easier after taking other defiant steps. We all start somewhere.
From here, I challenge you to find your word for this year. Take a step back and really look at yourself, all aspects of your life, and what you ultimately wish to accomplish. Don’t be afraid to refer to the Super 8, which I clearly believe encapsulates all. When your word clicks, tell somebody what it is, and justify it. Put someone else in a position to hold you accountable.
I’d love to know what your words are, and I’d love to help. Feel free to contact me at any time, to create that trail that might not exist yet. I look forward to hearing from and reaching out to all kinds of people this year. It’s become easy to feel alone for many folks, so I encourage you to do the same. It’s time to adapt and grow from these circumstances of the previous couple of years that we feel restrained by.
I look forward to continuing to share my journeys, perspectives, and stories with you. I truly believe that 2022 is when we will change the world.