College Experience (Part II)

Within my last blog I illustrated how the lack of self discipline initially altered my collegiate career.  In addition to falling behind academically, the presence of free time led me to serious injury.  I was 19, ineligible, and had been place on academic probation.  I needed (6) hours of course work to participate in football the next season.   In addition to needing these classes,  I had to rehab my ACL injury, and work over the Summer just to get back into school.  All of a sudden, Life as I knew it  had become so much more challenging.

The Summer of my Sophomore year was hell!  I worked 6 days a week (Casual Postal Employee), rehabbed alone (Columbus Downtown YMCA), and with the assistance of my WC  football coach (Dr. William Ramseyer) I took Summer courses.  Everything I made that Summer was given to the Wilmington College business office.  With this, and other loans I was able to suffice the college for re-admittance.  Passing the Summer courses meant I was eligible to play.  In my mind, Life was again good! 

When I returned to football camp, though I had rehabbed to the best of my ability, I discovered my injury was still ailing.  An even harsher reality was, inasmuch as I tried to mask my ailment, the coaching staff knew I was laboring.  I had definitely lost a step, and others had been recruited to take my position.  I felt the coaches began treating me differently.  As an  adult I now realize who could blame them, I was a different player.  I went from a starter, to a Nickle-Back.  I played a great deal, but my THUNDER was gone.    

Both my Junior & Senior seasons can be described as mediocre at best. During these years I began to have honest reflection.  To that point I had seen so many athletes come and go.  For what ever reason they were in school during the start of the season, but did not finish the year acedemically.  Scholastically falling behind, being on academic probation, and attending Summer school forced me to question my purpose in college.  Had I become like so many others that had came and gone?  Was I in college to play football, or to obtain an education?  Getting a degree became so much more important.  This change of heart led me to become “mentally militant”.  You see before that Football Machismo mindset had me twisted.  Playing the game was so much more important than anything else.  Rather than discovering what I needed to graduate on time, I concentrated more on practise, the upcoming opponents, and traveling.  Other than making sure I had enough credits to be eligible to play each year, I  concentrated on the techniques of Press, Trail, & Man-To-Man coverages.  I recall thinking, “If I allowed my mind and body to be stressed and injured without getting my degree, I would have allowed both the game and the coaching staff to use me”!   Through growth and maturity, I later realized that getting my degree was my responsibility, no one else’s.  The responsibility was mine, however I needed the assistance of someone who hand been there before.   Help was on the way.  All I needed was the courage to search, and ask for assistance.

I’m sure others may have had similar circumstances where you felt you were in dire straits.   Please share your experiences.  We can all learn so much from one another.  Please stay tuned for the next blog (Getting Up).

As always, Love is Love.

Chuk B. 



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