Self-Examination…

Everything I'm not…Makes me Everything I am…

An Update on Me…

Thinking...

I would like to apologize to everyone for not having posted lately. I have had a lot going on so I have not been able to update as often as usual. The season was coming to an end and it was “FINALS” time. As you all may know, I have been out of football since we were preparing for Florida (14 weeks). Two Fridays ago I made my return, only to tear my ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) the next day. I will have surgery the first week of January and will be out 6-8 months. I may have played my last down of football after 20 years but I have been through worse so I will definitely bounce back. I guess it is a good thing that football has always been a “PLAN B” for me. However, the injury has given me some time to sit and think about my life.

Recently, I have not been as focused as I feel I should be. I have been busy getting addicted to trying to pursue success. Because of this I have been unable to focus on the things that I need to do. Being a full-time student, an athlete, a father, and an entrepreneur hasn’t been working well with my desperate need for adventure, and its deterring me from my goals. I felt like I had finally hit the bottom and I am bouncing right back up now.

There are so many things that I love to do but the main thing is “SERVING.” Because I love to help people, and there are so many ways to help, I have been stretching myself too thin. My family has been very supportive in helping me understand that I am still in school and that I don’t need to have all the answers right now. So right now, I am putting all of my focus on learning. I’m going to learn, learn, learn. I’m going to learn all I can about my FAITH, finances, health and fitness, and as much as I can about business so that when I do finish school (4 majors), I will have created a base of knowledge so that I am more than prepared when it is my time. I am unsure of when that time will come. But one thing I do know is that I will be ready.

Right now we are preparing for our Bowl Game against Virginia Tech in the Chick-fil-a Bowl. The game will be played at the Georgia Dome in  Atlanta, Georgia on New Year’s Eve.  We will be spending the week in Atlanta so I will be letting all of you in on my Bowl experience. Talk about the ultimate bowl game experience! I get to spend New Year’s Eve in Atlanta hopefully after a nice win over a Top-15 Ranked team in the last football game of the year 2009. A game featuring two of the most dominant conferences in college football in the SEC and the ACC. Hopefully Ill get to shop the vibrant downtown area and take in a nice fireworks display. The game had sold out before it was even confirmed that we would be playing in it. You don’t find more passionate fans than those that we have in the Big Orange Vol Nation. PRIME TIME!

I will be posting Part II of My Motivation for Success soon. Thanks for taking the time to read. I’ll work hard to provide stuff worth your time and attention!

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December 20, 2009 Posted by | My Life..., Tennessee Football | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Lil’ Update on me and the VOLS…

  

(Photo)

Montario Hardesty

My most recent post told you how my Thanksgiving went so Ill just update you on the team. The Saturday after Thanksgiving we played the Kentucky Wildcats. It was a great game as usual.  It was close the entire game and eventually went into overtime.  

In overtime, they got the ball first and failed to get any points on the board missing a field goal. When we got the ball, a fellow Running Back, Montario Hardesty broke for a 20 yard run to end the game. The Vols continued a streak of 25 straight years with a victory over the Wildcats and Tario got Co-Offensive Player of the Week.  

We finished the regular season at 7-5 hoping to receive a bid to the Cotton or Outback Bowls to continue post-season play. However, both bowls passed on us and today we were informed that we will be playing in the Chick-fil-a Bowl in Atlanta Georgia on December 31, 2009. Although it wont be official for several days, we will be playing against Virginia Tech. This makes for a good matchup and a very interesting game that people have wanted to see for years. Ill be sure to get some video footage of my bowl experience.  

P.S. Yesterday I did my first conditioning since I injured my foot in early September. Yea, it wasn’t fun at all. But Ill be back.

December 1, 2009 Posted by | My Life..., Tennessee Football | , , | Leave a comment

A Moving Night with F.C.A…

Last night’s F.C.A. (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) and Team United meeting…

I haven’t blogged about a FCA experience but with what happened last night, I feel that I have to. I have been faithfully attending the meetings for some time now. These meetings have been very moving and spiritually uplifting for me. But none of the previous meetings had the effect of the meeting last night. Everyone was moved and I will always remember what happened on Thursday, November 12, 2009.

Chaplain Roger Woods III has spoken to us about unity but there was a different vibe last night. With what happened with 3 of my VOL teammates as well as another young woman, it was a very emotional night for our VOL Family.

To begin the meeting, Chaplain Roger Woods III introduced us to his friend and spiritual brother, Jake Gullege. Mr. Gullege began by setting the atmosphere by praying for the 3 Vols that made a mistake and sang a couple of the songs. A couple of the songs that stuck out were “We Fall Down” and “Never Would Have Made It.” Once Mr. Gullege opened his mouth to sing, the anointing was exemplified in his voice.

It was obvious that everyone in the room became vulnerable to the Holy Spirit through his songs. There were on their knees crying. People were laid out on the floor. People had their hands raised surrendering to GOD. There were teammates consoling other teammates. The message through his songs was moving people to tears. You can definitely tell that the message was getting through to everyone in the room.

Mr. Woods also introduced us to HIS Spiritual Father, Danny Buggs. Mr. Buggs had an unusual way of getting his message across, but he definitely got through to us. He would have somebody read the Bible verses while he would explain, in great depth, the meaning of the verse. It was a great message about how those of us that are UNASHAMED should be pulling our fellow believer’s coattails and be the Nathan to the David.

When Mr. Buggs was through speaking, Mr. Gullege blessed us with his music once again. And again, everyone was moved. While this was going on, the members of the Vol football team rallied in the back of the room for prayer. Mr. Woods joined in and gave us a very important message as well.

After we finished the meeting with prayer, one of my Vol teammates from the incident the night before, Mike Edwards, walked through the door. When Mike walked in everyone embraced him and let him know that he was still our brother and that he is still loved. Mr. Buggs delivered a message to him and Mike rededicated his life to GOD, and we all prayed for him once again. Later on another player from the incident, Janzen Jackson, walked through the doors himself and did the same thing.

Thursday, November 12, 2009 may have been one of the most incredible nights of my life and I believe it was a life changing experience for me as well as many others in attendance. As one football player said, we came together as a family, not a team.

I was able to experience what the Lord could do in ACTION!  And as another said about that night, it was UNBELIEVABLE!

I want to thank Chaplain Roger Woods III for giving us the opportunity to fellowship with others and being there for us through everything.

November 13, 2009 Posted by | Encouragement, Inspiration, Tennessee Football | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

My Journey Back to the Field…

Not long ago I was eating and swapping stories with some old football buddies and they began to joke about me being the oldest on the team. It made me think of what I had to go through to get to this point in my life.

Before this season, I had been away from the football field for 5 seasons. That’s longer than most player’s entire college careers. I’ve been to Los Angeles to Fort Collins and now I am here in Knoxville at the University of Tennessee.

There have been a number of bumps in the road preventing me from playing football at the college level. Starting with being undersized for the sport and dealing with all the politics involved with the sport, then dealing with injuries all while trying to juggle me2being a student and a young father as well. But I could not let these obstacles deter me from my dream. I had to maintain my faith and keep pushing towards my goal. I had to refuse to quit. I had to mend an old wound and I hope to inspire others by doing so.

In the spring of 2009, I finally became a part of the Tennessee Volunteers football team; two years after enrolling. I went through the spring dealing with even more complications that kept me away from the field for most of spring practice. I went all the way through the summer not knowing if I would be invited to fall camp.

On the first day of camp I received a call to report to fall camp and to move into the dorm. I was excited because it was official, but I was also nervous because this would be the first camp I had experienced since high school. It was a great feeling. However, I had played cornerback and two days into camp I was moved to Running back. I hadnt played that position since I was in junior high. I was nervous, but I felt that it was a better move for me.

Throughout camp I had turned some heads with my surprising play at a position I hadnt played in almost 10 years. In our first scrimmage I only received one carry because I had just been moved to the position. It ended up being a run that caught the eye of many of the coaches. The next week I received praise from many of them. But when our Defensive Coordinator, Monte Kiffin, the greatest defensive mind in all of football came up to me, I knew I had done something right. I continued to do this through the rest of camp, but towards the end of camp, the tide turned on me again.

I became ill in the last few days of camp and missed the most important scrimmage. When I returned the next week, I had lost some ground and wasn’t able to compete. After about a week I was back into the routine and had another great week.

On September 5, 2009, I was able to experience some great Tennessee traditions. I was able to do the Vol Walk and run through the “T.” The next week I was on the service team helping prepare our defense for the #1 Florida Gators. The defensive coaches were ecstatic of my efforts. But….again, another hurdle was thrown in my way.

meWhile doing team drills that week, I made a plant on my left foot and was unable to put any weight on it. I later learned that I had torn the tendon on the bottom of my foot. Not again…

I wondered if God was telling me that I needed to stop. But I don’t believe he gave me the opportunity to experience these things for no reason. Sometimes God uses trials to get us back on track. Most of us have chosen an unhealthy and worldly lifestyle that is self-destructive. Most of the times trials can knock us back to our senses. It can give us a reality check. All is not well. And most importantly you are not well.

Well today was my first day back on the field in over 7 weeks. My foot isnt completely healthy but I was able to take part in all the practice drills and I am excited to be back. On my first carry I was given a good “Welcome Back” smack.

I hope to inspire all of you with my story. I just want to let all of you know that things get hard but that doesn’t mean that its time to give up.

Trials are opportunity for your personal growth and greatness. Do not run away from it.

October 29, 2009 Posted by | Encouragement, Inspiration, My Life..., Tennessee Football | 3 Comments