It's the Fall of 2008, I'm a senior at Canal Winchester High School, (located just outside of my hometown of Columbus, OH) and I find myself locked away in a small vacant gym deep inside the village of Canal Winchester. Its actually the old Canal Winchester middle school gym, which at that time was just an open building being used for team practices. Even though its an 11 year time difference between today and back then, not much has changed in the way of business being conducted. The main difference is the circle that is around me. You would be hard pressed to not find me and my personal trainer Anthony Rhodman honing away at my skills and body for hours on end. I almost can't believe that I'm sitting here writing this to you, 11 years later. Back in 2008, everything that I've come to accomplish up to this point was merely a figment of my imagination. Let me paint the picture a bit clearer for you.
It's late summer of 2008, around late July to early August and I'm currently in disbelief and distress. I have just received news from the top AAU program in the state as well as one one of the best in nation, ALL-OHIO Red that I will not be attending AAU Nationals with them in Orlando, Florida. I remember the conversation vividly that I had with Jerry Watson and George Howard. At the last minute, they stated the team had already left and I will not be making the trip down with them. In my head I could not believe what I was hearing because prior to that call me and my mother had made numerous calls and request to family and friends receive some funding for me to take the week n a half trip to Florida. Times were desperate for me and my family, not only financially, but the time for me to achieve my dream of playing Division 1 basketball on a full ride scholarship was nearing to a close. To make matters worse, that same day I received a phone call from a Coach at Hillsdale College in Michigan delivering more upsetting news. I answer the phone to hear an excited coach stating that he and his staff is very excited to come down to Florida to meet me in person and to watch me compete with All-Ohio and that they plan on offering me a full ride scholarship during the tournament. To my despair, I had to inform him that I would not be attending nationals, but requested if I could to see them in Columbus after nationals concluded. After a short pause of disappointment, Coach stated that he had some business to attend to that he would give me a call after returning to Michigan from AAU Nationals in Florida. At that moment, I knew there was no basically no chance that I'd be hearing from coach, let alone receive an offer. Fast forward a decade, it's now safe to say, I never heard from the coach at Hillsdale again.
This was a pivotal moment for me, as I had a couple decisions to make about my life. Do I fold under pressure and accept what I could physically see at the time? Do I listen to the naysayers and allow them to drown out my own inner voice that's telling me to keep going? Or do I hold fast to my dreams and continue to plan for them? At 17 years old, with limited resources this was an extremely hard decision, but for me, the even tougher decision was to live my life thinking what could of been! I decided to keep going, regardless of what many people around me believed. My belief in self, and my belief in God would not allow me to give in because I worked to hard to give up during the last year of my journey. A journey in which I have labeled the "Marathon."
What I love and hate about life is the unknown! What I thought was the worst thing that could have happened to me, turned out to be the best thing that happened to me. A true blessing in disguise. By not going to AAU Nationals, and continuing on my path regardless of the circumstance, I was put into a life changing position. That very same week that I would have been in Florida with the team, I met my personal trainer Anthony Rhodman, who literally changed my life and helped guide me on a path to the level I am now as a pro. The thing about life that I love is, when you put the correct energy into the world, it often times returns back to you. The first thing he said to me was, "Imagine would you could accomplish, if fear wasn't an option?" He also was the first person to believe I could go Division 1, without me actually telling him, and not only did he believe, but he came with a plan. Faith Without Works is dead!
From that day in early August of 2008, we hammered away in that small gym in the village of Canal Winchester, doing two or three workouts a day for 2 months straight, until I became the only player in Central Ohio in the 2009 class to sign to a Division 1 school on a full ride scholarship to Wright State University! There are many details in between that I will cover over time, but the moral of this story is, "Life is a Marathon, Not a Sprint! This is the inspiration behind our spring '19 sportswear collection, at first things may not be working in your favor, but by staying down and focusing on the long game and not the short term gain, you will put yourself in position to outpace your competitors. Please checkout our "Marathon inspired piece and sportswear collection. The Marathon Continues...
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