The formula to inner success is the ability to “Stick With It”. In 1980 as a freshman in college (Eastern Illinois University) the environment of intercollegiate athletes was overwhelming. I was lost, confused, and befuddled on the humongous campus. In addition, Charleston, Illinois was night to-day to Chicago; its personality resembled Dixieland, Mississippi. I was a non-scholarship student-athlete (a walk-on) in Hell. I wanted to quit the first day. (August 13, 1980)
Playing football never came hard until arriving at Eastern Illinois University. One week removed from intercepting the game saving pass in the Chicago Public vs. Catholic League All-Star game, I was relegated from city hero to cleaning the latrine. In fact, the treatment was consistently antagonistic and aggressive; as walk-ons, we received everything last. This went on for what seemed like forever.
Our jerseys were t-shirts, our shoes were black, (other players’ shoes were white), and the helmets resembled props from a 1940 movie set. Again, I begged and pleaded for my mother to save me with her approval to quit. Once more she never uttered a word to confirm the request. However, she said something that night that would change everything.
In the prison camp disguised as a college football team “live hitting” was about to begin. I warned my mother about the upcoming event. On this day, live tackling drills would fill the air; walk-ons like myself would be instructed to run with the football…and BAM, the varsity defensive backs would take your head off. This day was scary for all underclassmen.
However, as much as I cried (I cried a lot) to my “Ghetto Mum” her uneducated tongue the night before prepared my becoming a Two-Time First Team Kodak All-American, Two-Time AP 1st and 2nd Team American, and 1st UPI First-Team All-American and a small stint as a Steeler.
THE VETERANS ARE HERE…
The Invisible Dragon