It was November 2013, my last high school varsity football game. I had had a pretty good season and was going to be going to the Texas High School Allstar game. Then half-way through the second half, the team huddled, and I called the play in. It was a rollout pass to the right-hand side of the field. I got behind my center and called the play snap. I dropped back, faked the run, then rolled out to the right-hand side of the field. No one was open, but I saw a lane to run to the first down marker and I took it. I sprinted as hard as I could to make it to the marker, but there were 3 players there to stop me. None the less I stretched out with my whole body to reach for the first down. I was totally exposed trying to spring off my right foot. Then I got hit by all three players at the same time. One landed on my right foot while the other two players hit me high, causing my body to rotate. I made it to the first down, but as the movement happened, my foot got stuck in the ground. Thus, causing my foot to be pulled sideways at a 90-degree angle. I heard and felt a few large pops in my ankle and lower right leg. It hurt a lot. I knew something was wrong, but I didn’t want to admit it. I hopped off the field and I tried to have the trainer tape me up. After he was done, I stood up and felt a couple pops in my leg. I tried to hide it from the trainer, but he could tell. I asked if he could tape the area where I felt the pop so I could go back in.
It was then he told me that, “your leg is probably broken. You are done.” It was everything I did not want to hear. I was given crutches and I crutched my way back to the locker room. I sat down in the room all by myself. Still trying to comprehend what happened. I did not realize it until a few months later, but that brief moment in my life changed everything. My whole life was turned upside down.
You see my whole life everything I did revolved around sports. I played three sports Football, Baseball, and Basketball since I was a child. The only thing I ever thought about was sports, sports, sports. So, later towards the end of my senior year of high school, I was trying to figure out where I wanted to apply to go to school. Then it hit me, I am most likely never going to play sports competitively for the rest of my life. This was hands down the most striking and debilitating realization I have had in my entire life. I was completely and utterly lost. My whole life had revolved around one thing and now it was gone forever. The next year of my life was very tough for me.
However, there was one thing my dad told me when I expressed how I was feeling. He went through the same thing I did, just as hundreds of thousands of other kids do each year. He told me that, “Sports are not the end of your life. They made you happy, but just as they made you happy you will begin to find happiness in other things.” I did not believe him at first, but as time went on, I began to slowly understand what he meant.
Fast forward to my second semester in college at the University of Central Florida. I was studying as an undecided engineering student and I realized even though I was done with sports I still wanted to be successful. So, I literally typed how to be successful into google. This led me down a rabbit hole where I eventually ended up purchasing two of the best know personal development books there was at the time. “Think and Grow Rich” and “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.” Reading those books changed my life. While I was reading those books, I remember sitting in my twin size bed in my dorm room asking myself the following question. If there is anything I could do for the rest of my life, no matter how big and audacious the dream is, (including play sports) what would it be? I took me some time, but I eventually found the answer. I realized that business is the most competitive sport there is. In my nature I am a competitive person, so my big dream was to try and start my own large technology company one day.
I went from being completely lost to totally determined. I decided I wanted to be a Mechanical Engineer and later I picked up a Computer Science Minor. I rushed a Fraternity. Made some amazing friends. I served on the Executive Board as Internal Vice President. I fell in love and had my heart shattered. I tried to start a few small businesses in school, but none that worked out and I had an internship with Lockheed Martin from Sophomore to Senior year. In college, I had so much fun and so many amazing, unforgettable, experiences. But I never lost sight of that realization I made my freshman year. Everything I did oriented myself towards that goal of starting my own business. Sometimes I took trying to reach that goal too far by making too many sacrifices and it negatively affected my life. But life is all about learning from your mistakes and I definitely have.
So, long story short. In college, I learned a lot, grew up, made mistakes, learned from them, and figured out what I want to be. I have not started a business yet, but I am still chasing that dream. After graduating I excepted a full-time position where I was interning at Lockheed Martin. I couldn’t be happier where I ended up. However, I am still keeping the dream alive by working as hard as I can outside of work to make my dream come true. This is “The Journey” that led me to where I am now.