I hope you never experience what it feels like to work your entire life for something and in a blink of an eye have it seized right in front of you. Very few of you know what it feels like to lose something you have loved since you were a child. Something you went to bed thinking about and woke up playing. Anyone who has ever played the game knows that football is a magical sport. Losing football is like losing a friend; your best friend.
At the conclusion of my sophomore season I was called into the office of my head coach for the last individual meeting of the year. I was not expecting sunshine and rainbows considering my mediocre performances that season and the injuries I sustained during the months prior, but what was about transpire next would subsequently change the course of my existence.
I crossed the office threshold at 11:35pm. I remember the time as I was in a particularly good mood that morning having just finished an 8 page paper I thought I did especially well on (ended up getting a D+). Coach was sitting in the far right corner of the office as I happily strolled in with a burrito bowl in my left hand and a failed psychology paper in the right. He hardly looked up from his computer as I casually walked in and plopped down on the office couch to eat my lunch. Coach, not being his usual lively and talkative self that morning, would have been the first red flag if I had not been so preoccupied with trying to figure out how I was going to consume my meal without a fork.
The conversion began something like this; “Spencer, thank you for your contribution to the team the past year, but unfortunately we’re going to have to let you go”. If you have seen Episode 18 of Season 2 you can imagine this sentence was not phrased as politely.
After what seemed like 30min of verbal insults and childish remarks, I walked out of his office at noon without a school, team or scholarship. My erratic emotions clouded my judgment for the following 24hrs until the true gravity of the situation hit me. I was in a hole. An extremely deep hole that was going to take more strength to escape than I thought I possessed. Everything stopped. I thought I had it all figured out until my master plan came crashing down upon me.
Anyone who has lost a scholarship knows the feeling of insurmountable defeat far to well. It seems like you have lost everything. Your sport, team, school, degree, and contract. Essentially your future is now just one big question mark. This feeling overwhelmed me for more days than I would like to admit. But what eventually replaced the feelings of doubt, despair and uncertainty, was a sense of refined purpose.
A quote by Pema Chödrön revolutionized my thinking and ultimately changed my life. She says, “Nothing ever goes away until it teaches us what we need to know.” The pain and suffering we experience throughout our life, the events that make us question our faith and hinder our judgment, are not without a purpose. You may not understand the reason right now, but someday you will. It took me 3 years to truly understand why I lost my scholarship on December 3rd, 2015, but what took me over a 1000 days to figure out, eventually led to a 1000 reasons why.
The darkness makes us appreciate and understand the light around us.
Everything has a purpose.