My mom is a serving general in the Army, so we are a military family. I have had to move every summer or every other summer throughout my elementary, middle school and high school years, moving most recently after my freshman year to a new school half way across the country. Restarting high school sucks -- there's no better way to say it without using actual cuss words. With every move came the same list of challenges: make new friends; adjust to a new city; adjust to a new culture; and most challenging – earn a spot on sports teams whose coaches had already built their rosters and established a pecking order.
For most of my life I have been a hockey player, but once I added football to my life I had to face the same challenges in both sports. When we moved to a new school I was the “new guy”, the “outsider”. In theory, every team that wants to be successful should be open to the possibility of new talent, but at the middle and high school level – that’s just not the reality. Your new teammates only see you as a threat to their standing and most coaches have to be convinced that your abilities are so much better than the other guy that he doesn’t have to risk being judged for making the switch. For kids lucky enough to grow up in one place their whole lives, the top performers only really ever have to tryout one time; once they make a team as a freshman they tend to keep their position all the way through school. For me, that has not been the story -- I have had to earn a spot on every team I ever played.
We moved to Texas the summer of my 8th grade year. I had never played football before, but in Texas, if you don’t play football, you don’t exist. I started playing football as a freshman at Ronald Regan High School. During my first season I went from riding the bench on the freshman B-team to getting some regular playing time. Then I earned a starting spot on the B-team. Then I was moved to the A-team. Then I earned a spot as a starter on the A-team. At first I was rejected by most of my teammates. I was an outsider and I was disrupting the status quo, but eventually I earned their respect and even their friendship. I had to repeat this process the very next summer when we moved to Langley High School in Virginia.
This has taught me to be resilient, patient, strong in spirit and body, and steadfast. I keep training and I keep improving. I believe that my best years are yet to come and I am ready to face the challenges that await me at the college level. I think I have all the basic tools to be successful and I look forward to what challenges and learning opportunities await me in college.
I will always be a player upon whom my coaches and teammates can rely to raise the bar, never quit, refuse defeat, and strive towards victory until the very bitter end. Facing challenge and adversity successfully is a valuable skill. In sports it is a valuable commodity. I will bring that experience to any team that would give me a shot. I will not just try to be successful on the field, but I will also contribute to the culture and fabric of success every team needs no matter what the scoreboard says.