The BHS football team had our annual awards banquet this past Wednesday. It was a night of fun, food, and friends. We handed out all of the Varsity letters as well as the Scholar Athlete awards. I received both. We also handed out individual honors, such as Most Valuable Player and the like. While I did not receive any of the “flashy” awards, I did receive a game ball. Now the game ball has special meaning among my ilk. After a game, the game ball is usually given to the player who has done something extraordinary on the field to distinguish themselves or who has been invaluable in a big win. Suffice it to say, you lose a lot of balls after a while. So our head coach, in all of his wisdom, decided to hand out game balls at the end of the season so the team would have enough footballs to play and practice with.
So when it got time to hand out game balls, I wasn’t expecting much. I hadn’t really contributed much during our games and wasn’t exactly a star athlete. But somehow, my name got brought up during the discussion of who should get the various awards. So I ended up receiving the Practice Player of the Year Award for 2005. I was stoked about that, but as Coach made his little speech about how I helped the team by giving it everything I had everyday, something struck me as odd. With all of the other players, he made no mention of their future, except in vague specualtion. The kind of things like “. . .So-and-so gave 100 percent out on the field and that kind of attitude will carry him far in life. . .” or something similar. But when it came to me, he was very specific. “His hard work and dedication will carry him far in life, and next year he will be playing football at either VMI or the Naval Academy.”
And that’s when it hit me. I have set myself out for a different path in life. Not to sound cliche but it is a path less traveled by. Very few of my teammates were even casually interested in the military, let alone actually planning on attending some of the top miliatry schools in the country. And as I walk this lonely road to whatever glory rests at its end, I wonder, what how my life might turn out if I take the easier road, beaten into the ground by the many feet of those who choose to merely eke out an existence and leave no mark on the world. And yes, my path is harder. It will test my limits and try to break me. It will test me physically, mentally, and spiritually, but I would have it no other way, because I know that if were to take the easy way out, I would spend my whole life wondering what might have been and would regret the decision until my dying day. So I’m just going to keep on walking down this road and I’ll what comes of it.