It’s already August of 2016. We’re one month away from what I consider the greatest time of year, football season. I look forward to opening weekend of college football like a six year old looks forward to Christmas morning. What I’m struggling with this year, more than years past, is I can hardly believe how long it’s been since I was preparing for the season as a player.
Don’t get me wrong, preparing for a season, specifically two-a-days is something I don’t miss for a second. Practice and summer heat were terrible, but a necessary evil. It’s the excitement of the games and hanging out with teammates I miss. I see former teammates a couple times each year at games and I keep up with what they’re doing on Facebook, but it’s a far cry from spending about 40 hours a week with someone for five years. I see their successes and hear about some failures and can’t help but think back to a time when beating the Chumps from Central was all that mattered.
Just last week, a former teammate of mine (Greg Jennings) retired from the NFL after an
amazing 10-year pro-bowl career. 10 years went by in a flash and it’s hard to overstate what an accomplishment it was, especially since the average NFL career is only 3.3 years. Greg was a special talent. He joined the team when I was in my fourth season, but once they lifted his redshirt and he was competing against live bullets in his second year, we all knew he was a superstar. Congratulations to Greg on an outstanding career. He is an example of what a pro should be both on and off the field.
This season, when the Broncos take the field, I’ll be watching young men that were toddlers when I was playing. Now, I have a toddler of my own and another baby on the way, it’s hard to remember what life was like when football and getting to class was all I had to worry about. Today, when I watch athletes from all sports, I can visibly see they’re younger than I am. It’s an odd experience for someone that grew up idolizing college and pro athletes and thinking about how much older they all looked. If someone is a pro athlete and older than I am now, they’re considered ancient! Most athletes don’t even make it into their 30s while playing.
Life has a funny way of happening without us noticing. This year I’m entering my late 30’s. I can almost remember my parents at this age yet I don’t feel like I’m getting older, other than some back pain. Days come and they go. We get into routines and don’t always take time to step back and reflect on what’s going on around us or enjoy the here and now (I’m projecting, but I have a feeling it’s more than just me this is happening to). Because of this, I’m going to do my best during the most wonderful time of the year to stop and take a look around, enjoy the birth of my second baby, and watch a little football with a child’s enthusiasm. I’m also going to remember every stage of life is great, I just need to live in the moment a bit more and try to make the game of life slow down, just like I did with football when I was on the field.