Networking is your most powerful tool for growth.
Putting yourself out there, meeting new people, and taking advantage of your opportunities can lead to the most unexpected of possibilities. And as we all know, when we create possibilities for ourselves, they extend to those closest to us as well.
Last Monday, I attended the Anthony Calhoun Golf Outing where he raised 170k for teachers treasures. He's a man with a truly socially conscious mind, and I am blessed to know such a giving man. Anyways, while hopping in my cart before the scramble, I overheard some talk about a football camp at Ball State. It immediate piqued my interest because for the past 4 years I get to spend time with my 3 nephews, who live in my hometown of Glassboro, for about a month every summer and I try to expose them to different opportunities.
Each of them watched my career on the field firsthand. I believe I partly normalized the sport of football & playing in the NFL because to them, Uncle Gary made it look so easy. It I always stress the importance of hard work and how motivated one has to be to play at that level. But, the Ball State Camp would be the perfect opportunity to SHOW them how hard their peers are working.
I had some finessing to do because I had a meeting In Martinsville at 11am, while the camp started at 12. I was able to figure out a way to get them to camp, but I wanted them to see their performance at a D1 camp. After my meeting, I drove clear across Indiana to Muncie to check them out.
The camp was pristine from an execution standpoint. It gave young players the kinds a glimpse of the work ethic it takes to get to the next level. For my nephews, it gave them a better picture of what it's going to take for them to become the next "Uncle Gary" & play in the NFL. It opened their eyes, like my first camp did for me. There I (also) realized that as a competitor, you are not competing against your own individual squad, the kids in your conference, or even the kids in your state. The entire nation is working for the same thing. Only so many scholarships can be awarded every season in college football, and some young men are hungry. You've got to be hungrier. Every single day. It's a lesson I carry with me every day of my life, and to bring my nephews to that realization was both nostalgic & heart-warming.
In the car ride home, I asked them if they still felt they had a chance of going D-1 and playing at the next level. They all agreed they would have to step their games up to get it done.
Good thing uncle Gary has some tricks up his sleeve to begin the journey of hard work to give them a shot...
"Each one reach one, each one teach one."
I'm GB, and I hope we ALL make it.