Just two years ago I found myself very much in your shoes as an incoming freshman. I was about to enter a whole new world outside my comfort zone. There was nothing more intimidating than the thought of my first preseason as a collegiate athlete. I found myself pondering in my room each morning about which section of Coach Taylor’s summer workout plan to start with. As the date of preseason crept upon me I found myself wondering if my teammates were going to love me or hate me and why I had to leave my friends and my family. But little did I know I was about to enter to a new family, one I would grow to love as much as my own.

The nerves and mixed emotions which are racing through your mind at this point in time are completely normal. I want you to know that the family you are about to become part of is one many individuals spend a lifetime searching to find. I have never met a group of players so understanding and dedicated as those whom make up this team. Although it may seem a bit foreign and strange you too are apart of this inseparable unit. You are now considered a “teammate.”

It is now your job to live up to it! The best advice I can offer is to listen to the little voices in the back of your mind, I know you have them. The ones that say get out of bed and run today when you would rather spend the day lying on the beach. Every little bit counts and the effort you put in is sure to result in success. Your journey of becoming a collegiate athlete begins today and it is an honor you should never take for granted. Have a great summer, and remember it is normal to be nervous but don’t be afraid. Get excited!!! You are apart of the FAMILY. Enjoy the next three months and I will see you in August!

Your teammate

Throughout my career motivated individuals have surrounded me. This inspiration at times was tough to feel during the daily grind, and other times the real life energy was obvious. When our paths cross, I am proud to see that the athletes come up to me for a handshake or high five and the stories they remind me about put an instant smile on my face.

This new segment will showcase the letters that many have written, myself or the athletes and coaches that I have worked with; to share their inspiration with those we call “teammates.” As you read through the messages that are shared, please remember that what is inside you can separate you from the rest. Look around and you may be surprised how many others are in need of just a little enthusiasm to push them closer to their goals: professionally, physically, mentally, etc.

I will begin with a letter that I sent to a team that I am still very proud of to this day. No names needed. Just a sincere message that I hope can impact others to pay it forward by giving energy to those around them.

Please leave your feedback in the comments section at the bottom. How are you preparing your team, coaches, administrators, staff, co-workers, sons, daughters, mothers, and fathers to have a positive mindset in both good and challenging times?