SportsLeader is a virtue-based mentoring and motivation program for coaches. This blog shares stories from coaches all over the country transforming lives. For more information contact Lou Judd -

Friday, September 17, 2010

Running From Self Destruction - Athlete Essay

This is why I love SportsLeader. A must read.

Lou, a new senior football player who I have been coaxing into coming out for football for a couple of years has come out for the first time this year. He is impressed with what we do. He calls me at night with spiritual questions often. He is a very intrigued young man. Below is an essay that he submitted today to his English teacher, the theme was to be something about "chases", a good "chase" scene essay. Cleverly and profoundly, yet very personal, he writes about being "chased by his emotions".

Very touchingly, he gives credit to myself and football for some great spiritual gains in his last paragraphs.
Dan Duddy
Head Football Coach Monsignor Donovan

“Running From Self Destruction”
Not once, have I ever been chased by the cops, a person or an object. I have never had anyone after me or out to get me or just chasing me. I have been chased by emotions though, a lot of them. I was six years old when my brother passed away. Nothing has been the same since them. Ever since that day questions such as “why me, what did I do, how am I going to move on with myself?” have daunted me. My chase story is about me running from the fear of going into depression, character change and hate towards God. I never stopped running though. 

Family relatives happen to pass away all the time throughout the course of life. Losing your brother is something not many people can relate to or understand. I was young when it happened but I still understood the circumstances and as I grew older, it hit me ten times harder. I was about nine or ten years old and I cried to my mom every night before bed. I kept getting older and I thought I was heading down the road of depression. I was thirteen when I really overcame being upset with the death of my brother. I saw it as a challenge life threw at me and I had to overcome it. Nothing is simple or set in stone in life. The challenge, I beat it. I overcame being depressed by getting closer to my family and doing better things to help the loved ones around me. At the age of only thirteen I felt like a man in the house, I enjoyed making my family days joyful just how my brother Kyle would have made mine. Don’t be depressed because there may be a hundred reasons to be sad but a million reasons to be happy. 

Growing up I had a mother, father and my half brother Patrick. We did not look at each other as “half brothers” because we knew we had a better relationship than normal brothers do. Patrick did everything for me, he made me feel loved, he led by example, and we got along better than best friends do. We did everything together and had the same interests (except he was a Cowboys fan while I was a Giants fan, still something we fight about today.) As I grew older I realized I could have been an awesome big brother to Kyle as Patrick was to me. After understanding that I lost that opportunity when he passed away, it crushed me. I didn’t feel like I had to impress anyone, I wanted someone to look up to me the way I admired my older brother. It was like my entire character just changed, I became less responsible and I did not feel like I had to lead by example for anyone. Then my beautiful little sister Hannah was born and I realized I had someone to be a role model for. This inspired me again to be that “big brother figure.” After seeing my character almost go through a self destruction point, I got it back on track. I outran the fear of going through a character change, it didn’t catch me. 

Religion and faith, well I lost all of it when Kyle passed away. I was a soldier and felt as the world was against me. God, I thought he hated me. My prayers, felt like they just “didn’t work.” Well I was proven wrong when my little sister Hannah was born. I guess I started to believe in the saying, “everything happens for a reason.” I am probably not the best brother I could be to Hannah but deep inside I love her a lot. It was not until this year where my football coach Mr. Dan Duddy made my religion and faith an important component in my life. My “chase story” has been going on since I was six and it just recently ended. I have overcome every fear I had after Kyle passed away. I now pray about three times a day, sometimes less, sometimes more. God, well I now know he doesn’t hate me, he loves everyone. 

I ran for about ten years, and my fear of going into depression, character change or my hate towards God, never caught me. I out ran all of those fears over the course of ten years and I won the race. No one will ever hold you back from out running your dreams. “Never let the fear from failing, stop you from trying.”

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