Build Your Village

“It takes a village.”

You hear it all of the time, and if you haven’t, it means to be successful as an individual, you need the right people around you. I may be biased, but I think athletes understand this the best. To build a high level athlete, for example, it takes years of different sports coaches and teammates, strength & conditioning coaches, teachers, academic advisors, physical therapists, athletic trainers, doctors, nutritionists, and the people who dedicate their time and money towards those resources. When you see a collegiate or professional athlete, that’s what goes into their on field presence. It takes many years and many people.

Off the field, the same applies. Every athlete, no matter how rich or famous, is just a human after all. Everyone has their set of family and friends that build them up as people, too. That’s where our villages start. Making sure that these people and more fit into our lives is a vital skill, and because I’ve been blessed with a special village, I hope to share that perspective with you.

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Cast the First Stone

With this week being right after Easter, I’ve decided to go the Biblical route with this week’s post. With the first three values of the Super 8 being faith based, I find it refreshing to visit the Bible’s stories for lessons in today’s world. Again, if you don’t necessarily believe in the Good Book, you can at least learn from its teachings. The concepts of faith aren’t necessarily reflective of one set of religious ideals.

This week’s story is pretty well known, it’s one of my personal favorites since I learned it. It certainly has an everyday application that I believe is especially relevant in these times. The reading comes from the first half of the eighth chapter in the Gospel of John. The verse specifically being John 8:7, “He that is without sin among you, cast the first stone at her,” (KJV).

Here’s how the story goes, and how it can apply to your life:

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Staying Level

As I’ve brought up before, we have multiple aspects of our lives that make up our identities. There are different talents, experiences, adversities, etc. that yield the perspectives and emotions that make us who we are. This week I want to dive into my personal story of my diagnosis and life as a type 1 diabetic.

It’s still a newer change in my life, and it’s not necessarily comfortable to open up about, but I have a platform and a story that should be shared. I’ve learned that there’s a strong community of Type 1s out there, and I’d be remiss if I sheltered my stories and my perspectives from the world. I’ve shown my sides as a son, or as an athlete, or as a college student, so it’s only right that I share this side, too.

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Standing Still

I personally am sick and tired of seeing COVID-19 articles. I can’t even stand the word ‘coronavirus’ anymore because it’s been abused by every media source and news outlet, so I was really hoping I could find something else to write about this week. But, I noticed that all of these other stories have created a stressful hysteria for people. No one is even trying to find a bright side. So, as we all sit around and twiddle our thumbs complaining about how boring life is, I want to offer you some new perspective. Nobody ever damaged their eyesight looking at the bright side. It’s always present in every scenario, I promise.

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Darren Waller on ‘The Super 8’

I first met Darren almost five years ago, in the fall after he was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the 6th round (204th overall) of the 2015 NFL Draft as a wide receiver out of Georgia Tech. We exchanged information and he eventually sent me, a bright eyed 14 year old, his game cleats from his rookie season. Little did I know how our lives after that year would play out.

For those that don’t know, Darren has one of the greatest stories in all of sports. He’s battled addiction, suspensions, injury, roster competition and much more before blossoming into a Pro Bowl caliber tight end for the Oakland Raiders… and a Pro Bowl caliber person. He’s always had solid advice for me through all of his highs and lows, so I recently asked Darren to share what “The Super 8” means to him. We broke all eight principles down together, and here’s what he had to say:

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Consistency

If there’s one message I could share with the entire world, it’s the one encapsulated in this post. I used the word “consistency” a bunch in my first post, and I’ll continue to reference the lessons here in majority of posts in the future.

In a world full of changes that bring anxieties, uneasiness, frustrations, etc. we all cling to what’s comfortable. In a world where the only constant is change, we all want familiarity. It’s human nature. But where do we find these comforting aspects in our every day lives?

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Mamba’s Mentality

I originally had something completely different planned for this week, but obviously the world was shaken on Sunday with the passing of Kobe Bryant. Someone with such prestige in and outside of athletics absolutely deserves this change in plans. Today’s original post might be coming later this week.

The biggest thing I take away from such a tragedy is to hug your loved ones a little longer and tell them how much they mean to you. It’s moments like these that you think about all the times you take life for granted. Thank God for giving you today. You truly never know when anyone’s time is, as scary as that thought may be.

The unexpected piece of this is what makes it so hard to stomach. Kobe didn’t do this to himself through his own poor decision making, as many big stars often do… he naturally had one of the best brains the sports realm has ever seen. He exemplified a lot of what “The Super 8” is, so I picked out some of his best quotes to share and explore as a tribute to him.

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Evolution

This quote is one of my favorites, and it leads to what is essentially part 2 of my ‘Consistency’ post. As I noted, one of the biggest things I pride myself in is confidence, which gives me the ability to carry myself through the ups and downs of every day in a positive and radiant way. The biggest thing I’ve tried to channel is consistency in confidence, and I hope that you’ve been able to implement that recently, too. But, there are certainly times I’m sure that’s rubbed people the wrong way.

The second biggest thing I pride myself in is the ability to work through regret. Regret and mistakes are really lessons to be learned, and obviously some lessons are way more important than others. Life’s full of both triumphs and defeats, and both teach us something.

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The Super 8

Welcome to my first post on my new website. It’s pretty surreal. A lot of people have asked me why I’ve decided to do this. This all has nothing to do with views, or clout, or being cool. It has to do with impacting peoples’ lives, especially the people interested enough to read my posts. It’s also an effort to be more transparent with the people in my life without having to follow a certain format of traditional social media. If I can touch one person one post at a time, I’ll be proud of the slight change I’ve instilled in the world. So, I’m thankful that you’ve made it here and I’m excited for our journey ahead.

The easiest way to start this is by breaking down what “The Super 8” means to me, and how I hope to build an entire blog around it. This is the best place to start so that we are all on the same page. These are the values and ethics of life that can help you and I create consistency in our lives. I’ll remind you of “The Super 8” and then we’ll jump right in:

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