Friday, May 14, 2010

Coming Clean

I was not All State in anything in High School. Not second team, not honorable mention, and didn’t win any team awards on the Brophy teams I played for. I barely batted above my weight on the Varsity Baseball team (I weighed 195) and I had about 10 catches for 100+ yards as the Tight End for the football team (although as a side note I did have more catches than Baltimore Ravens Tight End Todd Heap in the state championship game of 1996). And, the biggest reveal is I didn’t even play Varsity Basketball. In fact I didn’t even try out, and for the life of me I can’t remember why. So there it is, all out in the open, I was a mediocre high school athlete.

The reason it is important for me to talk about this is because in my heart, as I type this, I know if I would have worked hard I could have done so much more. I’m not saying I should be in the Big Leagues right now, but I had all the tools to play the three main varsity sports (sorry soccer, volleyball, and track and field people). And, the reason that this is important is because my life has been lived in hindsight ever since I was 18 years old. Imagine being in conflict with yourself over the person you were and the person you were becoming in your late teens. So you take a 19 year old kid, who is not happy with his life and what he is doing with it and you end up with a person who constantly makes jokes and drinks too much to delude himself from the person he has become. The final product of this is a 26 year old pushing 300 pounds with blood pressure problems who absolutely hates himself for letting life pass him by.

My dad told me once, after college, on a golf course, that when I was 13 years old, high school coaches used to come watch me play baseball games. I was a catcher with the arm of an 18 year old, who could run like a leadoff hitter and hit with power to all sides of the field. 13 years old is when you finally play on the same dimensions that the big leaguers play on, and where you can separate yourself from the rest of the pack, and I did. When my family moved to Arizona, my 8th grade coach, who played college ball, told me I could play college ball right then and there, no questions asked. So what happened?

Brophy for all intensive purposes is a legitimate power in all sports. It’s not a Mater Dei football program but it is well on its way, and my freshman year I was one of two kids from our entire class of 330 kids who made all three sports teams (again football, basketball and baseball) the other three-sporter was none other than Matt Miller, a phenomenal athlete who ended up playing college baseball at Santa Clara and also a great friend.

I can’t remember when I stopped working hard, somewhere between sophomore and junior year I think, I started focusing on drinking and being more of a “partier” than an athlete. The moment things didn’t come easy for me on the field or court, the moment when I should have dug deep to see what I was made of, I turned and ran and thus took the low road. And, ever since, I have regretted it.

DUNK? isn’t just about getting into shape, and it’s certainly not about dunking a basketball. DUNK? is about knowing what I am made of, what I am truly made of. There are times when I look into my father’s eyes and I can see his mind playing the “What if” game. What if Charlie would have worked harder? My dad played football at NAU as an undersized linebacker. He was an over achiever. If my dad would have had half of the athletic ability I did he probably could have played at an Arizona State or University of Washington. My parents never pressured me to play anything, and my demise during high school actually forced them to reconsider their parenting skills. During college I brought them to their knees. And, as much as I would like to apologize to them for the stress and grief I caused them, I know they wouldn’t accept it. I was a kid, and I was a kid who was just having a hard time growing up. I am still a kid in many ways, but at least now I am trying to reach my potential.