November 2, 2013:
As a teenager having CIDP my sport days were very limited. I never had the opportunity to hit the winning home run; I never experienced the thrill of hitting a buzzer beater to win the game; and I never scored a touchdown under the lights on a Friday night. Sitting on the sidelines is a place that I have grown familiar with.
I have never been one to dwell on the things that I cannot do. One of my greatest qualities has been my ability to put my head down and push through adversity. Even when people tried to drag me down. To reconnect with my competitive spirit I began coaching. Coaching filled a void in my life. It made me feel like I had a purpose. It also gave me a higher level of accountability. While coaching, I was not only responsible to my family; I was also responsible to the young men that I coached.
Tonight I watched a wonderful group of young men play their final high school football game. This group of young men have forever touched my heart. I had the opportunity to coach many of the young men on the team. These young men have preserved where many have fallen away. In terms of wins and losses, our football team has not experienced the full fruits of their labor. When others told these young men it was a waste of time; they did not listen. They were their uniforms with pride.
After the game, knowing that my former players had played their last game, I was overcome by emotions. It seems like just yesterday that I was standing before a group of immature pre-teens with high pitched voices. Then tonight, seeing what truly great young men that have become, my emotions ran over. Even as I write this there is always a memory that pops in my head the makes me laugh and cry all at the same time.
To Garrett, Stephen, Will, and Cody may you always stand strong in the face of adversity. May you always be men of honor and humility. May the character that you have shown these past four years continue. The values you have developed over the past four years will carry you all to greatness. Finally, may you all have the impact on the world that you have had on me and my family.