Sports. From soccer (can’t remember the league name because I didn’t last long) to Pop Warner to PYBA (for you locals that’s the Pflugerville Youth Basketball Association) to Balcones Little League to Westview Middle School athletics to AAU summer track & field with the Road Runners to Pflugerville Connally High School varsity teams to eventually the University of Texas at Austin football team; sports has been all I’ve known.
Before he became my best friend, Torre Doty was just one of my high school basketball teammates. We didn’t talk much. Just practiced against one another. One day in practice he and I were getting after each other pretty good in a low post drill and he elbowed me is the jaw. Long story short, we almost came to blows over it and before you know it we’ve been best friends ever since.
Before she became my girlfriend, before she became my fiancée, before she became my wife, she was just a fellow athlete named Marshevet Hooker who was rehabbing an injury in the UT training room, just like me. Fast-forward seven years from the moment when we first met and we recently just celebrated our first wedding anniversary.
Sports have helped me form bonds that I never thought possible. I grew up playing little league baseball and eventually high school football with Stanford Routt, who is now in his sixth season with the Oakland Raiders. My wife is an Olympian and while traveling with her I’ve personally witnessed every single world record that Usain Bolt has set. I’ve spent time with Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Tyson Gay, Carl Lewis, Gail Devers and any other number of track and field legends.
I could go on and on and on about all the people I’ve met through my experiences in the sports world. I could tell you about meeting a big headed kid from Tyler who went on to be my roommate and one of the best men in my wedding. His name is Matthew Melton. I could tell you about meeting this crazy white boy from Colorado on a recruiting visit that used some of the most colorful language I’d ever heard in my life. We both ended up signing to the same recruiting class. His name is Kasey Studdard and if the 2010 version of the Texas Longhorns had even one person that was cut from the same cloth as Stud would be a LOT different. That’s a story for another day though…
I could tell you all about how the summer before my freshman year in college three guys from Houston and I used to workout with Mad Dog, then go to Popeyes and devour a bunch of chicken before passing out at my mom and dad’s house in North Austin for the rest of the afternoon before heading to seven-on-seven practices in the evening. Their names are Albert Hardy, Selvin Young and some guy a lot of you now just call VY. I could tell you all about going to Red McCombs ranch every August or breakfast nights in the dining hall or swindling the hotel staff when we traveled to the team hotel into removing that piece that kept us from hooking up our XBOX in our room (Chris Ogbonnaya and I) on the road. I never really could beat him so I had to stop playing him. He had a knack for giving me the best fantasy football advice and even though he’s in the NFL now, if I get stuck, I still text him to find out who to start.
I could tell you about this smart ass named Drew Kelson that I can’t stand (not really), argue with for the sake of arguing but have the utmost respect for and would do anything he asked of me. I could even tell you about a guy that showed up at my apartment one afternoon the summer before his freshman year of college to play video games that was built like a wide receiver, lived in the weight room for a few years and transformed himself into a first round linebacker/defensive end. We all just call him Rak. Or a kid from Port Arthur I hosted on his official visit that we took to Bennigan’s because we couldn’t figure out where else to get something to eat late one night. Luckily he didn’t mind and still signed with his. His name is Jamaal Charles.
I have TONS of these stories about all the people I’ve met, all the relationships I’ve formed and all the experiences I’ve had because of sports. If that’s all I ever talk about on my blog I don’t think I’d have enough web space to detail it with any just due. Hell, almost ten years ago I met Ketch when I was just a junior in high school and this site was called The-University.com (if I’m not mistaken). He and I still stay in touch to this day. Thank him for this blog if you enjoy it and blame him if you don’t.
I’m a River Oaks Elementary Road Runner. I’m a Westview Middle School Wildcat. I’m a Pflugerville Connally Cougar. I’m a University of Texas Longhorn (and an Orangeblood). I probably shouldn’t remember each of those mascots and if it weren’t for something in sports that happened at each stop along the road that helped to shape me along the way, I don’t think I would remember. Sure there are plenty of other things important in life. Sports aren’t the ONLY thing that has made me who I am. That being said, I’d be hard pressed to find too many things that have done more for me than sports have. Who cares? I’m not ashamed to admit it. Sports aren’t just a segment of my life. For me it has been, still is and always will be a way of life for me.