What a crazy six months it’s been. It’s been my longest hiatus from writing in years, but with good reason. I’ve needed the time to recenter and refocus in trying to find who I need to be not only for myself but for those around me. I’ve had to learn more about my own power and influence within the world.
I’ll start by emphasizing that every identity I’ve always shared on this site has undergone some form of pain. That was necessary. I believe most of those feelings have been well documented on here; so what has it been like since then? This recent phase of experiences has dealt directly with working through those pains, physical and emotional, figuring out why things happen when they do, and living out a dominant mindset to continue to elevate myself and others in the process.
It’s been a time of learning who to trust, how to trust, and why to trust. It’s been a time of working through my personal barriers to achieve levels of accomplishments I wouldn’t have thought imaginable… and dealing with the thoughts of pride and doubt that come with that.
I’ve had different posts on my mind for a while, but like I always say I can’t force them out of me. I can’t make up messages and lessons that I’ve never lived. I can’t always attribute reason to everything I experience. I’ve also been waiting for the insane schedule of life to die down a little bit so that I can share everything at once. So, let’s dive in since the last time I wrote…
I started this semester with my focus on three things: Me, Myself, and I. Not in a selfish or arrogant way whatsoever, but so I could figure out who I was and who I needed to be. Mainly for those around me. In my last post six months ago, I wrote about being able to go to sleep at night at peace with that day’s body of work. I had to find the means to satisfy myself first. In life, in relationships, on the baseball field, as a teammate, and in everything I do. The people around me are going to be better off when I’m at my best.
First and foremost, my focus has been on love. It’s a simple word, and it is taken for granted so much, but it is so powerful. It’s clear that we all need love, so we all need to learn how to give it. Especially to ourselves. That was the biggest skill I’ve had to come to terms with. I have so much love in my life, and I get it from my plethora of genuine relationships. But, sometimes I had become too dependent on others to find the peace of being alone and creating love from that. One of my keystone concepts of the Super 8 is that the greatest consistency in the world comes from within. I’ve finally started to experience that that idea also includes love. It’s not that I didn’t feel that before, it’s that I feel that more than ever now.
Like I said, I had to arrive at that realization from pain involved in the process. Some people are in our lives for a season and a reason. Some events happen for a season and a reason. Some people can’t grow with us forever. Some things don’t happen to us forever. It’s like a rocket ship. A rocket blasts off with boosters and engines that eventually drop off at certain altitudes because they aren’t meant to go any further. They are never destined to go where the rocket is destined to go. So, if there are people, places, or things that are no longer of benefit to you, I encourage you to go with love. Go to those new heights that you are destined for.
Here’s how I’ve gotten to my new heights through a variety of routes:
On the baseball field, these previous 4-5 months specifically have been about trying to work through the rehab process and the nagging irritation of an arm injury that will never go away. After that forearm break, I have come to grips that I will never be 100% for the remainder of my career. But, I finally had the outlet of peace to be at a ball field again, back in the routine of workouts and keeping my mind busy. There have been so many physical adjustments and thought processes to figure out how I can still handle my business at a high level despite real, tangible, physical pain. That’s a pain that isn’t even worth talking about. There’s nothing that anyone can do to solve it. There’s a mentality I’ve had to learn to push through that even I didn’t know I was capable of.
It takes a relentless personal mindset to just deal with that and continue moving forward on top of learning a new position (again) and navigating the waters of being a teammate. I’ve learned also that there’s a difference between being a teammate and a friend. Sometimes they aren’t the same thing. Sometimes both can’t exist. Different people have different reasons in different seasons, the type of love changes, but it’s always love.
In my moments of rehab I also had a flow of ideas. At the time, I had so many ideas and aspirations to find and use my voice. I had been kicking around ways for my student-athlete peers to make their voices heard, to be able to tell stories of struggles and the things nobody sees us go through. Being a division one athlete molds people into some incredibly impressive individuals, and I’m so lucky to keep company with those types of people. But, I want more for us. I had the concepts of different types of shows written out and I had conversations with production companies, but we never landed on anything. So, I brought it to Towson.
I told them that student-athletes are always in the news now (transfer portal, NIL, mental health, and on and on) but nobody asks us for our thoughts and what we go through. Our perspectives are very rarely tapped into. And if you know me, I value perspectives more than most. I also wanted Towson to find a way to improve their brand, their storytelling, and their notoriety. After a handful of meetings and zoom calls, “The Streak Speak” was born.
I thought this type of thing would help bring us together again as an athletic department, but it would also show everyone the sides of each other that we don’t usually see. Including myself. It’s been pretty special and it’s an opportunity that isn’t achievable at most other schools, so for that I am thankful.
Catch up on “The Streak Speak” here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_zQR87OOrdc&list=PLEEtp8eNhx6U1mKuMrGwVyXzf8vAW_VpL
I’m still kicking a lot of other ideas around, yet none are possible without a foundation of content of character. None of this is possible by being anything less than a good person. Somehow, some way, when I speak, people tend to listen. For better or worse, people are paying attention. What I choose to do with that attention is vital.
That attention only grew with the launch of DexcomU (https://www.dexcom.com/dexcomU). That has become one of the coolest opportunities I could’ve imagined. To be one of 14 athletes across the country to be identified as a diabetic role model is something I never thought imaginable. As a Type 1, you crave knowing that you are not alone after your diagnosis. You also look for the security of seeing that your dreams are still achievable, because in most cases, people stop their usual habits and hobbies (especially sports) after a diagnosis. There have been some extremely humbling media opportunities to arise from that program.
Here’s some bonus coverage for some insight:
From publications like that I’ve gotten DMs and messages from families from upstate New York to Los Angeles, and even right here back in Towson. They all have baseball playing boys ages 8-12 who are newly diagnosed with Type 1. Connecting with people like them is so special. It’s an opportunity to turn the pain and confusion into community and comfort. I look forward to seeing how those relationships continue to grow, but I will always be rooting for those boys and doing my best to take care of them. Here’s an update from my new friend Jackson:
I’ve also had the opportunity to help feed families in Baltimore for Thanksgiving, launch new marketing campaigns for TU locally, form handfuls of new friendships and bonds, and take care of myself a little bit. I’ve seen some of my favorite musicians perform, chopped it up with some influential figures like Dave Portnoy, attended some awesome sporting events, and really just flat out enjoyed myself. It makes me sit back and think about what I’ve done to earn this life. It also makes me reflect on who I am, and that’s the message here.
Just like I’ve told so many people recently, it’s all possible if you make it possible. We all have more control than we give ourselves credit for. We control the most powerful things about ourselves. We control our minds, we control our character, and we control our love.
This post is a solid overview of what I’ve done to find what’s important to me, but there are so many layers to it all that I’m excited to explore. I find this post to be a foundation for diving into many concepts that I will be discussing very soon. Including but not limited to Imposter Syndrome, dietary management (from my diabetic athlete perspective), “knowing your worth,” power & influence, relationships, faith and a multitude of other factors. And of course how the Super 8 ties into all of it.
Thank you for bearing this time off with me. I needed it. My batteries are recharged. I’ve found the power in my voice again. I’m excited to share at a rate I’ve never shared before about perspectives you could never imagine.
In the meantime, please continue to browse my other posts. I promise that they are evergreen – lessons and messages applicable to any emotion and any event at any time.
I look forward to being back here again soon. Please continue to give love. Especially to yourself.
And never forget that the world needs good people, too.
Talk soon. I promise.
Where there is love, live there; and where there is not, create it.