Yearly Archives:

2010

changes

DIARY 19

My last week as a Red Raider football player has begun to tick away.

Its strange to know that everything I have known for the last 5 years of my life is about to be flipped, spun, shook and contorted into something completely different.  However, it is pretty exciting to know change is on the horizon. 

Last week I cleaned out my locker and removed my nameplate reading ‘Baron Batch 25’. The next time I step foot in Lubbock Texas I will be a ‘has been’ and I don’t mean that in a bad way, that’s just how I have referred to old players. Turns out I’m very close to being an old player now.  Looks like the jokes on me. 

I’m officially a Texas Tech graduate as of last week. It’s a great feeling to have my degree and be finished with school. This past week there have been numerous changes that have occurred for me. I sold just about everything that I own and moved out of my house in Lubbock and am now officially a nomad. I no longer have a place of residence and am a drifter! I guess this will make it a tad more difficult for ‘the man’ to find me.  Everything I own now fits in the back seat of my silver 99’ Toyota Camry. As I drove home to Midland from Lubbock I looked up and snapped a picture of my rearview mirror that held an image of the Lubbock skyline consisting of four buildings. I thought about all the things I would miss about Lubbock.  It is only fitting that I write a farewell letter.

Here is my farewell love letter.  

Dear Lubbock,

I will miss you. I have had a blast getting to know you. You have seen me grow up over the years. I will miss you dearly. Many college students from larger cities diss you and say that you are boring and have nothing to do. Don’t listen to them; they have yet to learn how to appreciate the laid-back west Texas lifestyle! I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t a fan of the aroma of cattle that permeated the air when I first arrived, but once I was informed by a local farmer that it was only the smell of money I was ok with it (I didn’t tell him that my money smells better).  I will miss all of my favorite eateries to eat like Ohanas, Thai Thai, Sazon, and the Rawls Golf Course.  I will severely miss getting a fresh cinnamon apple chai from Sugar Browns, my favorite coffee shop. I will miss all you wonderful people.

~Baron~

I hope that everyone had an amazing Christmas! I was able to go home for a brief period of time and enjoyed every second of it. However, the holidays are over and now its time to start preparing for our bowl game. 

Today we reported in Dallas for the bowl game against Northwestern. On the way here I drove through a place called White Settlement, I got to thinking and began to wonder what Black Settlement would be like and how delicious the food would be!

Right now I’m sitting on my hotel bed having trouble writing because I usually generate all of my creative ideas over a cinnamon apple chai at Sugar Browns. My roommate just walked into the room and slowly the rest of the players are arriving at the hotel. I room with my fellow running back Eric Stephens and his snoring is unreal, I will soon be in search of earplugs for the night. As crazy as it sounds things like Eric’s ridiculous snoring are things that I will miss about Tech. I will miss getting to hang out with my teammates more than anything. I will miss the locker room pranks and intense ping-pong matches. I will miss the little things.

Things are moving a million miles an hour for me right now. It feels like someone hit the fast-forward button to my life. I think the strangest thing is to know I’m leaving but have no idea where I will end up. 

On January 2nd after the bowl game I will be flying out of Dallas to Haiti with a group from Lubbock called Operation Hope to do some work for the Haitian people so I wont be writing next week, but expect an awesome write up the following week. I would appreciate if you keep the group and I in your thoughts as we travel.  One thing that trips like this do are make me very grateful for everything I have. It always puts things into perspective.

Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers in the coming months.

Wreck em’ and God bless.

No Diary this week!

Ok so here’s the deal!

There is no diary this week. Things have been crazy busy and I haven’t had the time to sit down and write. Thanks for understanding!!! I will resume writing next week folks. I hope all of you have a very merry Christmas! Adios. Feliz navidad.

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chasing Success

DIARY 18

I was asked what I wanted for Christmas a few days ago and I sat and thought.

My answer was this. I want a show on the Travel Channel. Not kidding at all. Dear Travel Channel, lets get together and make awesome television! Ok, now we can move on.

Our bowl match up is set. January 1st we will be playing Northwestern in the Ticket City bowl in Dallas. Bowl games are always a highlight of my holiday season. For starters, it provides another opportunity to play a football game and get to be with my teammates for one last time. Secondly it’s always nice to get the bowl gifts and money. Merry Christmas to me!

It’s not easy to make a bowl game. I think sometimes that gets overlooked. Or maybe people have just become accustomed to the fact that we have been to a bowl game for all of my five years and many years before I arrived here. I know I assumed it would happen this year. It’s not easy though. Earlier in the year I remember thinking “gees there is seriously a chance that we might not go bowling.” It gave everyone a sense of urgency for sure. Everyone likes extra Christmas gifts!

We are 7-5 and can finish 8-5 with a bowl win. I would call that a fairly successful season. Yes we have five losses at this point, and yes we have lost some games that we shouldn’t have. 7-5 isn’t as bad as you think because if those numbers are flipped and we had finished 5-7 guess what would have happened? Guess what bowl we would get to play in? The Off-season Bowl, with half of the other teams in the country. I don’t think the Off-season Bowl would be fun.

It’s kind of ironic that we are playing Northwestern. If I hadn’t come to Tech, Northwestern would have been my second choice. It’s cool to look back and see that both paths could have ended at the same destination.

Ok, so my time in Lubbock is just about over. I have 10 days left. Tick tock, its counting down with haste. So many of you have inquired about my plans post Texas Tech and what I want to do with my life.

Well, I want to do many things.

I love to write. So I’ll be a writer. I love photography. So I’ll be a photographer. I love to travel. So I will be a traveler. I love football. So I will be a professional football player. Yes I know what most of you are thinking. “That’s not how that works, you cant just do everything.” Well why not?  There is a term for people that think like that. I would refer to them as ‘haters’ and they love to engage in an activity called ‘hating’.

But really, why not try and do everything that you love to do? Isn’t that way better than not even trying because you let the fear of failure consume you, and then ending up doing nothing?

I’ve learned that Success seeks no one. Success is hidden in places where most people are afraid to go. You have to find her.  If you stand and try and wait on Success to find you, you’re wasting your time. Even in the event that you randomly meet her on the street, have a conversation, and shake her hand, you will walk away without thinking to ask for the digits because you simply weren’t searching. If you don’t recognize what success looks like you will walk right by her.  Success isn’t the vain prom queen. She doesn’t always stick out; she is the quiet girl in the back of class with glasses and a ponytail, waiting for some one to take notice and beautiful nonetheless. Success is not found arrogantly strolling in the middle of the road illuminated by streetlights that everyone is brave enough to walk down. She is found quietly walking on the dimly lit sidewalk that gets scary where the street lights end. Success is found in the dark places. She is found in places where most don’t look or are afraid to venture. Places with zero visibility. Places where you are forced to take a leap of faith and simply trust God.

So I’m taking my leap of faith with this next step of my life. I have my list of things I love and I’m going to do them all.

This past week I sold everything in my house and have packed up to leave. Honestly I don’t know what the next year is going to look like for me. After January I will no longer have an official place of residence. I wont have my own bed.  I am going to train for the NFL somewhere not in Lubbock. I guess I could always stay here and stay in shape by circling Jack in the Box like the rest of those vulture people (kidding).

The next few months I am navigating with zero visibility in many areas. It’s awesome! I’ll have my camera, car, clothes, computer and bible with me and that’s it.  I guess I’m a nomad.

There are many unknowns and uncertainties for me over the horizon. One thing I am for certain. I’m not waiting on Success. I’m looking for her. When I find her I will recognize what she looks like. I wont be shy or hesitant to approach her and introduce myself. “Hi Success, I’m Baron. It’s a pleasure to meet you, I’ve had my eye on you for a while now.” That’s what I’ll say. I’ll be sure to ask for her number, and then memorize it so I don’t forget.  Ill be sure to call her. I will pick her up in my 99 Silver Toyota Camry and will be dressed to impress. I will take Success out for a nice steak dinner and have good conversation. We will eventually get married and she will be mine! I will have no problem taking her last name, which would be ‘Successful’. We will have children and they will all be successes.

But seriously, if boys chased success like they chase girls; and girls chased success like they chase boys. Wouldn’t there be more successful people?

This next step in my life is going to be an exciting one for sure! This week’s food for thought is this. Are you chasing to keep up, or are you chasing to catch what your after?

Wreck em’ and God bless.

What college taught me

DIARY 17

Ok, so here’s the deal. I am done with college.

Last Wednesday was my last day. I walked triumphantly out of room 154 with my arms held high. The feeling is similar to the childhood thrill of finding Waldo after hours of scanning for his red and white striped shirt, and knowing that you had accomplished something that not every kid could!  Every kid can’t find Waldo. Some children are inept at spotting the striped traveler. Many give up and let frustration ensue, because Waldo is clearly a master of disguise. But for the persistent, relentless, observant, child that does happen to find Waldo the feeling is great! Finishing school and finding Waldo go hand in hand! Who woulda thunk it?

So I have actually had a few complaints about my last few columns from several readers. It still makes me laugh when I think about the fact that I actually have ‘readers’! I have been informed that my last few columns have been tear-jerker’s. I would have to agree to a certain extent. So this column will be a change of pace.

Of course five years of college has provided many humorous stories and events. More importantly I have learned a great deal of valuable lessons that only the college experience can give. The majority of things I have learned from college have been outside of the classroom. I will pass down my knowledge for whoever finds it useful. Here we go! If you are offended, that probably means that I’m talking about you. Sorry. The first step to recovery is admitting the problem. We all have them.

You can call this part of my column ‘Baron Uncensored’

My fellow Gentlemen:

1.)  Wearing tight fitting Texas Tech Football athletic gear does not mean that you are on the team. I’m sorry to bust your bubble. In the event that you do want to be on the team come try out, we would love to have you (no sarcasm intended). Oh, and the girls that find you interesting because they think you play on the team are not the girls that you want in your life. They are referred to as groupies or also commonly known as cleat or jersey chasers, and if by chance those are the girls that you go for. Ill pray for you.

2.)  Wear appropriate clothes to the rec. No one cares to see your stretch marks on your arms and how quickly you have morphed. No one cares if you have muscles; this is not the Jersey Shore. Oh, and it’s the cool thing to wear deodorant when you work out. I don’t think women find the raw smell of man attractive. Only in the world of deer is the smell of must cool.

3.)  While we are on the topic of hygiene this must also be addressed. So you know those little boat shoes, or Sperry’s I think they are called? Ok, so wearing those in the summer without socks makes your feet smell like death and decay. I know that some of you just got offended and are thinking “gees moron your not suppose to wear them with socks (read in Napoleon Dynamite voice)”, I am aware of that, however socks never hurt anyone. In fact I think if you ask any foot doctor they will tell you not wearing socks with your shoes and getting sweaty feet causes athletes foot. But what do I know; I’m no foot doctor! I’m just someone who has had a first hand experience with smelly Sperry feet. Oh, and don’t think that other people cant smell. However, you don’t have to worry about this issue with black guys because we wear socks with everything, especially Jordan sandals.

4.)  The Axe body spray commercials are advertised well, but the result of a body drenched in Axe is false. Girls will not flock to you and kiss your neck. They will hold their breaths, and then talk about you behind your back. If you want to smell good this is what you do. Bathe regularly, ditch the body spray and buy some quality cologne and don’t use that excessively either. One spray in the air then walk underneath it, that’s the trick.

5.)  No one is a good drunk driver! Don’t do it! I know everyone has had the friend that say’s “dude, I’m good! I drive better when I’m drunk, honestly alcohol doesn’t effect me when I drive. (Preferably read in surfer voice)” You sir, are what I would like to call a moron.  Fellas, it is not admitting weakness by asking someone to take you home because you have drank too much.  Your car will always be waiting for you the next day, most of the time.

6.)  Don’t approach a girl and say “hey I’ve seen you on Facebook”, even if that’s the truth. If you are ever called a Facebook creeper just counter the verbal attack by saying that you don’t ever creep, you just pursue intently! In the event that a girl approaches you and says “hey I saw you on Facebook”, be flattered and send her a friend request immediately.  Oh, and don’t put up on your facebook profile that your looking for random play, it’s not cool. Also, Facebook is not for putting all your drama out in the public. For men everywhere, if you try to be a Facebook ‘player’ you will get caught 100 percent of the time. Girls aren’t stupid, and have a built in detective instinct.

7.)  Trying to be the class clown is no longer cool in college, it actually becomes annoying.

8.)  Brush your teeth in the morning, even if your really tired and late for class. Sometimes you can’t tell you have bad breath, but other people always can. However, if you do forget to brush your pearly whites, gum will do the trick. Preferably stride layers. I wouldn’t mind if that’s what my diploma is made of.

9.)  Don’t go commando. You never know when that plan might backfire.

10.)  Your mode of transportation says a lot about a person. Walking and taking the bus is ideal. Biking is cool. Skateboarding and long boarding can be pulled off. Roller blades are a no-no.

Ladies:

1.)  Wearing Nike running shorts and Ugg boots with only a North Face fleece when it is below freezing is stupid. This doesn’t make you look cute. Everyone can see that you are cold because your legs are covered in goose bumps and looked like someone plucked the feathers off of a chicken.

2.)  Frozen yogurt from Spoonful is not a substitute for an actual meal no matter how many of your Ugg footed friends say so. I totally understand counting calories and I know that yogurt is a healthy choice, but sometimes calories are your friend! Sometimes they do cool things for you, like keep you alive.

3.)  The elliptical machine at the rec does not actually do anything for you. Your walk from your car into the rec probably burned more calories than the elliptical machine does. Just because you walk into the rec doesn’t mean that you have worked out. Also please be understanding and not so harsh to the guys that approach you at the rec, you are the reason that 99 percent of the guys are there.  Just because you do Zumba, doesn’t mean you are that hardcore at working out.  A girl once asked me “how hard are football workouts?” I responded “not too bad” she then said “ Bet you couldn’t do a Zumba class.” Um, yeah ok. You got me there.

4.)  Eating Josie’s every night will make you fat. The Freshman 15 is not a myth. It does not discriminate. You cannot hide from it in a Zumba class. It will kick down the door! ‘It’s gon’ find you’

5.)  Don’t call guys creepers because girls do the same thing, its just that guys like it. Well, to an extent.

6.)  Cursing all the time to sound cool actually doesn’t make you sound cool at all.

7.)  Be presentable. Believe me I understand that we all run late, but that’s not an excuse to not brush your hair, or teeth. Puppy breath is only cute when it’s actually coming from a puppy, and its not really that cute then; let alone when it comes from the girl sitting beside you in class.

8.)  Girls contrary to popular belief, your feet can stink just as bad as guys if you don’t wear socks. I know these things seem elementary, but you would be surprised.

9.)  Just because a Metroplex restaurant comes to Lubbock (Chipolte, Einstein Bagels, Raising Canes) doesn’t mean that you have to sleep outside waiting for it to open to get a taste.  I promise, eventually you will get some. This goes for guys too.

10.)  Ok ladies, its not cool to act stupid when you aren’t. For example, if someone tells a joke that you don’t find funny or obviously don’t understand, you don’t have to laugh.  If you’re a girl and your laughing right now, I’m talking to you. I’m not actually able to hear you laughing you know. You can stop now. Ok I was just kidding. Proceed with laughter. In the event that you actually are stupid, please don’t try and act smart. It will only make you look more stupid. Professor: “So would it be fair for African Americans to receive reparation for their sufferings?” Stupid girl trying to act smart: “ I feel like we have already repaired many of the black communities.” That is a true story and actually happened.  If you laughed at that, good! If you didn’t, don’t act like you did. Its ok.

If any of that offended you, I am offended that you got offended.

Hopefully this column made you cry, but for a different reason! This week’s food for thought is this. If laughter is the best medicine, do you need to go see the doctor?

Wreck em’ and God Bless

I AM SECOND – Lubbock

Ok so heres the deal, iamsecond is coming to Lubbock in the Spring.

If you aren’t familiar with iamsecond check out their website iAmSecond and get familiar with it, the site will explain everything that they do. Ok, So this is the important part. My good friend Chris Plekenpol who is the iamsecond college coordinator is in charge of campus and college ministry. He is an awesome person and they don’t come much better that this guy. He is a former army captain and Iraq veteran. You can watch his story below.

Yeah amazing story I know! Chris’s job is now in full time ministry and for those of you that aren’t aware that doesn’t pay much. In order for my man Chris to keep going around and spreading the gospel to college kids and people all over he has to get people to sponsor him for the events he puts on all over the country. Well I take back the part that without sponsors he wouldn’t be able to spread the gospel because he is the type of guy that would find a way, even if he had to use all of his own money. This is where you come in. If God is tugging on your heart to help further this awesome ministry by helping financially it would not be a waste I promise! Give Give Give! To show the importance of this cause I am actually going to start sponsoring Chris and his ministry by donating 50 dollars a month. Yes Chris, I know you didn’t know that before you just read that but its true. So heres the deal! I am a broke college student, well actually a broke college Alumni now, nevertheless I’m broke. So if in my poorness I can help……you can too! Did I just try and make you feel guilty? Yeah a little! But its ok, there is a solution! GIVE!!!!!

Here is Chris’s contact information! Use it and GIVE GIVE GIVE! its worth it. Maybe you cant physically be at some of these events, but with your help lives will be changed! thanks

Chris@plekenpol.com       972-746-3259

legacy

DIARY 16

Last Saturday I played my last home game of my college career.

We finished the regular season with a winning record of 7-5 and will get to go bowling (play in a bowl game).  I’m so proud of this senior class. This group of guys will always be special to me.

I guess when it’s close to the end; you can’t help but think about the beginning.

This is the first time that I have really sat down and reminisced on what football has done for me and allowed me to do. As crazy as that might sound, it’s true.

I guess its time that I look back and reminisce.

I remember when I first started playing football in the 7th grade at Goddard Junior High in Midland. I remember signing up for football without my parents knowing, and forging my dad’s signature on the permission slip. My dad didn’t want me to play because he thought I would break my leg or something (ironically a broken ankle is the best thing that has ever happened to me). Of course it didn’t take long before they found out what I had done. Thankfully they went ahead and let me play.

I remember the coaches telling me I was going to be a running back. I had no idea what that was, but I liked that the key word was “run” because that’s all I wanted to do when I was little.  I remember trying to put my pads in my football pants for the first time and having no clue what I was doing. I went out to practice for the first time and all my pads fell out of my pants because I didn’t put them in the little pockets designed to hold them. I just stuffed them in my pants, and as soon as I started running my tiny thigh, hip, and kneepads went everywhere. I remember not making the A- team and being so mad that I cried.

“Baron, what college do you want to play football at?” I remember when my high school running back coach asked me this question in the 9th grade.  This changed my life. This showed me that someone saw something in me that I didn’t. That was forever ago. Funny how forever can seem like yesterday.

I remember playing against Lyle Leong and Taylor Potts when I was in high school at Midland High and they were at Abilene High. I couldn’t stand those guys back then (mainly because they beat us). However, they have both grown on me over the years! It didn’t seem that long ago that we were playing on Friday nights in high school, taking yellow buses to the games.

I remember getting a scholarship offer from Texas Tech, and I remember signing my letter of intent.

I remember sitting by Lyle in the stands at Tech games while we were being recruited and talking about how cool it would be when we were both starting on offense. We would joke and say that we had “forever” before we were done at Tech. Turns out that forever goes by pretty quick.

I remember dreaming of playing in the big stadiums, big rivalries, and the big games of the Big12. I have been fortunate enough to do all of those things. I remember my first practice as a Red Raider. I remember walking into the locker room as a wide-eyed freshman and seeing all the guys that I would watch play on T.V and being in awe of them. I would watch everything that they did, and how they did it. To me those guys were celebrities.

I know that’s how some kids look at me now, and I distinctly remember being in their shoes what seemed like forever ago. Funny how “forever” can sneak up on you like a ninja.

Flash forward, and five years went by in the blink of an eye.

My last game is something I will never forget.  As we ran the last play of my last game at home, memories flooded my mind like a slideshow.

Everywhere I looked there was a memory. To my right, I could see a 17 year old me sitting in the stands eagerly waiting his turn to play on the same field I then stood on. To my left I saw myself running up and down the bleachers on the east side of the stadium. In front of me I could see my teammates and I running sprints in the summer heat. I looked to the tunnel and could see myself running onto the Jones for the first time through the smoke and remembered how nervous I was. I glanced at midfield and could see myself standing there for the first time as a team captain.  All around me memories danced.

I looked up at the double-T scoreboard as I had done countless times in the past; I realized that it would be my last as a player. The clock struck all zeros, and time had expired not only for the game but also for my career in the Jones. “Well that’s it I guess, it’s been fun”, that was my exact thought. I looked around and saw the looks on all the other seniors’ faces, and knew we were all thinking the same thing “gees that went fast.”  Many of the seniors didn’t want to walk off the field because we knew that it was ending a chapter in our lives. No more bookmarks or dog-eared pages, but a finished chapter. It was definitely bittersweet, and indeed all of our careers flew by.

I began to walk up the ramp to the locker room for the last time, and it was like I was passing myself countless times walking down. Right before I got to the top and went in the door to the locker room I turned around to glance out at the Jones for one last time as a player and thought to myself “What legacy did I leave?”

I thought for a minute. Was I the best running back that had played for Texas Tech? No probably not. Was I the fastest? No. Was I the biggest? No. Did I set any records?

No.

I then asked myself  “do I have any regrets?”

The answer was no, and this is why.

When time expired for my career and the clock struck all zeros, I knew one thing for certain. Every time I walked up the ramp to the locker room I left all of my talents, abilities and effort on the field. I hadn’t wasted anything. I want my legacy to be that of someone that gave all they had to give.

Isn’t that what its all about? Using your God given talents to their full potential? Knowing when your time expires and your clock hits all zeros that you left everything you had on the field. Knowing that you gave your all and did your best, but most importantly knowing that you didn’t waste anything.

PhotobucketWhen you walk up the ramp for the last time after your time has expired, what do you look back and see? Do you see squandered talent? Do you see potential that has molded because you never used it before the expiration date? Or do you see a full body of work that you are proud of, simply because it’s the best you could offer?

When your coach asks you “did you leave it all on the field?” what can you say?

What is your legacy?

thanks

DIARY 15

It’s a beautiful day in Lubbock Texas today!

My brown skin is in perfect synchronicity with the brown dust filled west Texas sky. I feel like a chameleon right now! It’s awesome.

With the win over Weber State we became bowl eligible for the 18th straight season, which I think, is pretty neat. It was a good team win and it was good to see everyone get to play, especially some of the younger guys.

Saturday was senior day, and all of the seniors where honored before the game.  As I stood down on the field before the game with my biological family beside me, I realized how thankful I am for them, and how much I love them. I remembered all of the crazy situations that we had overcome together as a family.

I also realized how large my family actually is.  I realized how many people have adopted me and claim me as part of their family. My family is like a crayon box now, filled with a variety of different people, different colors and different cultures and I love it!

As I looked up in the stands I began to think about all of the people throughout my life that have become my family. Some through events that seemed random at the time. I thought about everyone who calls me a son who isn’t my biological parent, and all the people that love me just like I am part of their family. I began to think about all of the people that were in the stands proudly watching me that weren’t on the field being honored, but are just like family to me; and that are a large reason why I am who I am. I thought about all the people that pray for me.

I probably have one of the largest families ever! It’s filled with all types of people.  I wish that all of you could have been on the field with me before the game, but there probably wouldn’t have been enough room.

With Thanksgiving around the corner its only fitting that I give a shout out to the people I am thankful for. This is to everyone who couldn’t be on the field with me before the game. This is for all of the people that have adopted me.

When my mom passed away it was a rough time in my life, but when I look back its really cool how God watched out for me. I miss my mom, but I can honestly say that once she was gone, 10 more moms stepped up to the plate. It always makes me smile when someone comes up and says “hey I met your mom the other day” and I have no idea which of my many moms they are referring to, or “I didn’t know you were adopted”.  The best one is when a white woman introduces me as her son to a group of her friends, and there is always a look of confusion like “dang, she must have kept him in the basement, I didn’t know she had a black son!” Like I said before, I love my family! All of my moms would do anything for me. You worry when you don’t hear from me, and always want to hear how my day has been. You always remind me how much you care and how proud you are. To all my mommas out there that look out for me on a daily basis and consider me a son, I am thankful for you. You know who you are! I appreciate you more than you will ever know.

Of course it only makes sense that with many moms come many dads. Throughout my life there have always been father figures surrounding me. Many of you consider me a son. You know who you are! You have showed me how to be a man. You have watched me grow up.  You have stood back and let me experience the world. You allowed me to learn from my own bad decisions because many times I was too hard headed to learn any other way; but you were always close just in case I needed help or got in over my head. You have taught me how to be responsible and work hard. When I didn’t want to take my training wheels off, you made me. You have taught me right from wrong. You have taught me why it is important to finish things. You have taught me discipline, faith, obedience, courage and endurance. My fathers have many different professions. Some of you are coaches, some are teachers, some are doctors, some are businessmen or pastors, and all of you have been placed in my life at the exact right time, and have all impacted me greatly. My dads are awesome, and I am thankful for you. I appreciate you more than you will ever know.

My sisters are amazing. I have the best sisters in the world and you know who you are. You know when I’m having a terrible day, and are always there to listen when I need to vent. You bake me cookies and spoil me all the time. I might seem crazy sometimes but that is just the brotherly instinct coming out in me. I will always be there for you, because you are always there for me. However, I will not hesitate to snitch on you if it is necessary. Some of you think you are sneaky, but your really not. You ladies brighten my day! I am thankful for you. I appreciate you more than you will ever know.

My brothers have kept me afloat. There have been many times I have wanted to just put my head under water and give up, but you have always been there with extra floaties. My brothers will fight for me, and with me. Sometimes we fight each other too, but at the end of the day we always have each other’s backs. We have got in many ridiculous situations and have grown as men together. When I am out of line, you wont hesitate to keep me accountable. Sometimes you tell me to “suck it up”, and other times you just listen. You are my spotter when the weight is too heavy, and when I’m too stubborn to admit I cant lift it by myself; you nudge the bar just enough so it doesn’t crush me. You give me advice I really don’t want to hear, but need to. You eat all of my leftover pizza, and leave the empty box in the fridge like I wont notice. You do all of the little things that drive me insane sometimes, but at the end of the day would do anything for me. I am thankful for you and appreciate you more than you will ever know.

Its pretty incredible how much my family has grown over the years. My success is your success, because in all reality you have more to do with it than I do. I am who I am today because of the people that surround me. You prayed for me when you knew that was all you could do.

To all my Midlanders, my success is yours. Part of where I’m going is never forgetting where I came from. I am thankful for you.

This week’s food for thought is simple. What are you thankful for?

Wreck em’ and God bless.

peaks and valleys

DIARY 14

Ups, downs, wins, losses, peaks, valleys, crests and troughs; this is life.

Last Saturday we got beat by Oklahoma up in Norman. It was the last Big12 game of my college career. It is so strange to say that I wont ever play another Big12 football game. With that being said I will say my farewell to the Big12 in the only fashion that I know how. Here we go.

Roll call!  Big12 North. Stand up when your name is called.
  1. Iowa state, what can I say; you got the best of us my senior year. You guys play hard. I don’t know much about Iowa except it’s one of the 50 states. Keep doing your thing! It’s been real.
  1. Nebraska, what up Husker faithful? One thing I know about you is your fans are very nice, almost on the level of creepy nice. You truly are a class act (no sarcasm). Reek havoc in the Big10 and keep doing your thing! It’s been real.
  1. Colorado you have the smelliest mascot in the country, but even I will admit that Ralphie is pretty stinkin’ cool. If I rode off into the sunset on any animal, it would be a buffalo. People make fun of Coloradans and call you guys tree huggers, but really lets be honest; who is so evil that they just don’t like trees? You guys play really hard and best of luck in the Pac10. Go do your thing CU! It’s been real!
  1. K-state what up! You are the purple “little apple” and Manhattan is a deceiving name. You will hold a special place among the northern schools. Thanks for being you! Stay purple, and stay classy! Best of luck, and its been real!
  1. Kansas! Rock Chalk Jayhawk! I have always thought your jerseys were really cool. Do your thing in the future; y’all are on the up and up! Turner Gill seems like an awesome coach. Good luck, it’s been real!
  1. Mizzou you guys were always a blast to play! You have a great team, and best of luck in the future! It’s been real!
Ok here we go! Big12 south. It’s your turn! Stand up when your name is called.
  1. Texas, where do I start? We have had our confrontations, altercations, and fights in the past. The big12 south reminds me of a dysfunctional family sometimes; filled with disliked brothers, weird cousins and red headed stepchildren. At the end of the day we are family though. I know this year has not gone as planned for you, and believe me I feel your pain. With that being said, keep your head up and keep fighting! Thanks for the memories UT. Best of luck in the future, its been real!
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  3. Texas A&M, Its always been fun against you guys. Even though you have made my blood boil at times with your chants and swaying, the Big12 wouldn’t be the same without you. We have given each other black eyes over the years, but the fights will be memories that I will never forget. Congrats on the year you guys are having, I’m sure that it is the result of hard work. Shout out to Christine Michel, get well soon you have my prayers! A&M, best of luck with the rest of the year and in the future. It’s been real.
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  5. Oklahoma the wounds are still fresh and this is hard to write after last weekend. It’s like peeling off a fresh scab, so I will do it fast. Clearly we don’t like visiting each other’s homes. Thanks for putting the house of pain song “jump around” to rest this year and not retaliating! It has been a slugfest throughout the years, but fun at the same time.  Good luck the rest of the way! It’s been real OU.
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  7. Oklahoma State the paddles that you guys use to hit the side of the stadium and make all that noise are pretty annoying, but honestly are a pretty good idea.  You are our cousins to the north, and even do the guns up but only with two fingers (very clever).  Congrats on the year you guys are having, it is well deserved. Best of luck the rest of the way boys! It’s been real!
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  9. Baylor you guys are a very good football team, congrats on becoming bowl eligible for the first time in forever. Even though you are an opponent, I have been excited to see the long deserved success you have had this year. I have been telling people you aren’t a pushover anymore and now you have proven it. Best of luck the rest of the season fellas! Bravo. It’s been real.
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  11. Texas Tech I love you. You are my baby. We have been married for the past five years, and you have been good to me. You have become my home over the time I have been here, and given me countless memories. I have been honored to be a part of a legacy that will be left here! Our fans are as hostile as they come and I love you all. This year has not gone as planned for us I know. It has been a frustrating year for the Red and Black, but I can confidently say that the program is headed in the right direction. Being a senior I wanted more than anyone to have had a great last season but hey, sometimes things don’t go as planned. Some of you are here reading this because of that very concept. We will finish the season strong. Texas Tech it’s not over yet, but so far it’s been real!

I know it’s getting closer for me to turn the pages to the next chapter of my life, but I find my fingers feeling sticky and wanting to cling to the pages sometimes. It’s been such a good chapter; the exciting thing is I know the book only gets better!

Ups, downs, wins, losses, peaks, valleys, crests and troughs. This has been my career.

Ups, downs, wins, losses, peaks, valleys, crests and troughs. This is life!

The thing that can’t happen is getting stuck in the downs, losses, valleys and troughs that life inevitably brings. However, lethargically surveying the landscape from the peak of success over looking the valley from your campsite, or sailing a crest never expecting a trough to rock your boat is an even more treacherous thing to do.

Peaks and valleys, its life!

Ill leave you all with this last thought for the week. So clearly life is full of peaks and valleys right? Ok with that being said, are you a hiker who simply enjoys the act of hiking no matter the terrain, peak or valley? Or are you simply satisfied, tired, or lazy and just looking to set up camp somewhere for a while, because the valley is too deep or the peak just high enough?

Wreck em’ and God bless.

sacrifice

DIARY 13

Saturday we got a much-needed victory over an extremely talented Missouri team.

PhotobucketI was really proud of the way the guys fought all game long and never gave up. As most of you probably observed, we wore different jerseys against Mizzou.  This was for the Wounded Warrior Project.  Being a part of the Wounded Warrior Project was amazing. It definitely put everything into perspective. The victory was for all the wounded men and women of the armed forces as well as those that serve to protect our country.

At our Friday night devotional, a soldier (who was an honorary team captain) spoke to the team about perseverance and never giving up. It was only fitting that we had to fight back from a fourteen-point deficit to win the game.

In the first quarter we were down 14-0.  I remember walking back to the offensive bench after going three and out, and looking up to see the soldiers that were honorary captains standing behind the bench cheering on the defense and encouraging the other offensive players.  I sat down and took a sip of water before turning back to look at the soldiers. I remember seeing that they were missing arms and legs; that they were scarred and burned, and I saw their sacrifice. I’m not an emotional person but this is an image that I will never forget. I made eye contact with one of the soldiers, and all he said to me was “don’t quit, keep fighting”. I became teary eyed immediately. At that exact moment I not only realized the magnitude of what the game meant, but I realized exactly what it means to say “ We wont quit” because that was my response.

“Don’t quit, keep fighting” the entire game those words resonated through my mind.

Before Saturday I thought I understood what sacrifice was. I thought I knew what it meant to not quit at something. It’s funny how sometimes you can be put in check, and realize that what you think you know, you know nothing about.

Before Saturday night I had no idea what sacrifice was. I thought I knew, but I didn’t. Before Saturday night I had no idea what it means to not quit. I thought I knew, but I didn’t.

Sacrifice and not quitting go hand in hand. This concept is incredibly simple but ridiculously hard to grasp at the same time. For me to finally understand these two things I had to see it and experience it.

To be able to really make a sacrifice you have to have something that you undoubtedly believe in and wont quit on.  For the soldiers, it is all of our freedom. It is the idea that our freedom is more important than their safety and lives. To have someone that would die to keep me safe look me in the eye and say “don’t quit, keep fighting” was powerful.

To not quit on something is another concept that I have a better grasp on after Saturday night. When I looked that soldier in his eyes and said, “ We wont quit” it was more than just words.

Choosing not to quit, and understanding that quitting isn’t acceptable or even possible, are two very different things.  If the question “to quit or not to quit?” were on a multiple-choice test it would look like this. Ok here we go. Get your scantrons and no.2 pencils ready and eyes on your own paper.

-To quit or not to quit?

a.) maybe quit

b.) for sure quit

c.) slight chance of quitting

d.) not quitting

e.) none of the above

Ok, what was your answer choice?

For the soldiers that I met this weekend the answer would be “e” because quitting is not an answer choice. It’s not an option. It is none of the above.

After seeing the wounded soldiers rooting us on behind our bench and telling them “we wont quit”, I realized not only was quitting no longer something that the team wouldn’t do, quitting was something that the team couldn’t do. Simply because the cause we were playing for was too great.

To get to wear the word “freedom” on the back of our jerseys instead of our last names was powerful. Without the sacrifice brave men and women have made to protect our freedom there would be no game. On Saturday all the players were honored to wear someone’s sacrifice on our backs. Even though it was just a football game, it meant much more than I ever imagined it would.

Saturday night I realized that to truly not quit on something under any circumstance no matter what the cost, is the biggest form of sacrifice.  To have a cause that you believe in, to the point where it becomes part of who you are is a special thing.

I really thought I knew a lot about these things. Its funny how sometimes you know nothing about something you think you know a lot about (say that five times fast).

After the game we headed up to the locker room where game balls were given out. Coach Tubs handed out a game ball to each of the soldiers who were honorary captains. I was blessed to be part of this amazing project.

The Wounded Warrior Project made me ask my self a few gut check questions. I’ll share these with you so you can ask yourself the same thing.

1.)  What is the thing that makes you choose answer choice “e” none of the above?
2.)  Do you choose not to quit, or is quitting not an option to choose?
3.)   What have you sacrificed?

These three questions definitely made me re-evaluate what’s important in my life and hopefully made you stop to think as well.

Wreck em’ and God bless.

enjoy the ride, it doesn’t last long!

DIARY 12

Saturday we lost to Texas A&M. Ok moving on.

PhotobucketThis Saturday we are sporting different jerseys for the Missouri game in honor of the wounded men and women of the armed forces, this is called the Wounded Warrior Project. The jerseys will be auctioned off after the game. The more I have thought about what The Wounded Warrior Project means, the more I realize how fortunate I am to get to do what I do every week and that is play a game. Not only do I get to play a game, I get to play a game that I love. Not only do I get to play a game that I love, I get to play a game that pays for my education.

Since the war in Iraq began there has been a total of 4,427 people killed (3,496 in combat) and roughly 32,900 soldiers injured. I have been enrolled at Texas Tech for over 1,700 days playing football and pursuing my education. So for every day that I have been enrolled in school at Tech there has been an average of almost 3 people die and 19 injured. I get to play a game. You get to watch and cheer. While I put on my cleats, shoulder pads and helmet to go to play a game, someone is putting on their combat boots, flak jacket and dog tags to grant me the freedom to do so.  People give their lives to grant us this freedom. If that’s not humbling, I don’t know what is.  That’s why I say that football is not life. It drives me crazy when I hear people say, “Football is life”. Football is a game. Football is entertaining. Football is fun. Football is not life. I just want to thank everyone who is in the armed forces.

If for some reason you’re not in a good mood today, cheer up because a feral cat could have chased you to your car this morning (happened to me last week).

I’m going to go ahead and declare this day the best day ever? Seriously take a minute to think about why today is awesome (insert time to think here). Ok, I’ll tell you why today is the best day ever. The reason that today is the best day ever is because you are reading this column! Before you start to think “real cool Baron way to be humble” let me explain. For you to be able to read this column that means that you woke up today and are alive.  You can’t complain about being alive, it sure beats the alternative! Your alive if you’re reading this and that is a blessing. Don’t go through the motions. Tomorrow is far from guaranteed. Enjoy your ride!

As of late Saturday I was stumped on what to write about. I was seriously close to closing my laptop and calling it a night, but in ordinary fashion my writer’s block was removed from a seemingly random event (thanks God). I received a text message from a Dallas area code that wasn’t intended for me, and this is what it said, ”Enjoy the ride, it doesn’t last long!” I texted back the random person asking whom they were and if their text was intended for me. Quickly they realized they texted the wrong number explaining that one of their friends was about to ride “Mr. Freeze” at Six Flags. Thanks random Dallas person! You just made me realize something really awesome; hopefully I can put together my thoughts so they make sense.

Here we go! Follow along.

Ok, so if you have ever rode Mr. Freeze at Six Flags you will know that it doesn’t last that long. It’s a pretty quick roller coaster ride, and it almost seems like its over before it starts. It doesn’t last long but can seriously make you puke (I had a friend this summer that Mr. Freeze dominated).

When you get on Mr. Freeze there are two things that will happen. One, you will have a blast, hold your hands up in the air in typical roller coaster fashion and enjoy every moment of the ride. Or two, you will be scared to death holding on to the front rail, eyes closed, and praying for the ride to be over (and then puke afterwards).  Its always interesting to see peoples faces after they get off the rides at Six Flags because you can tell if they had a blast or if they were terrified and regret getting on the ride.

The football season is more than halfway over and my college career is coming to a close as well.  I have been in Lubbock for 5 years now. Last week one of the guys on the team said this “ Bbatch you’ve been here forever, I was you for Holloween…. in the 9th grade!”

I graduate in December and I’m about to start another chapter of my life.  My ride is about to be over in Lubbock, and before I know it I’ll be waiting in line to get on another ride in a different amusement park.

“Enjoy the ride, it doesn’t last long.” Those words are so true! Just like Mr. Freeze life flies by and can make your head spin. You can either enjoy every moment of it with your hands held high in typical roller coaster fashion. Or you can be strapped in clinging for dear life, eyes closed, not enjoying the ride at all and regretting that you ever got on.

I pray that when my ride is over I can say I had a blast; hands held high with my eyes open the whole way (even if I threw up a little).

So enjoy your ride! Throw your hands up in typical roller coaster fashion, and don’t be afraid of puking because sometimes certain rides can do that. This week’s food for thought is short and sweet. Are you enjoying your ride or holding on for dear life?

Wreck em’ and God bless.

do you wanna be good, or do you wanna be great?

DIARY 11

I love the state of Colorado, but do not love the smell of Raphie the buffalo.

Ralphie smells like Lubbock when the wind blows south from the cattle yards (all my fellow Lubbockites understand what I mean).  My first year in Lubbock I would skip class on the days that the cattle yard smell would blow in. I quickly learned that skipping class because of the manure smell permeating in the air is not an acceptable excuse for the majority of professors. Last week we ventured to the “Centennial State” to play the Buffalos, and for those of you that aren’t familiar with state nicknames the “Centennial State” is Colorado. Saturday was the first time any Texas Tech team has won in Boulder. I’m so proud of the way the guys played. Colorado is a very talented team and the game went down to the very end. Right now the team is sitting at 4-3 and we are battling to get bowl eligible. This season has been a lot like the streets of Lubbock. There have been potholes and detours but the one thing that you can count on is that this team is constantly working, just like the seemingly never-ending construction crews that tear up the Lubbock streets on a daily basis.

One of the most dangerous paths is one that is made too smooth. It does no good to always have tender feet. This season has been anything but smooth. This team has trekked some rough terrain over the past 8 weeks. Our feet are calloused, and bandaged but we will keep walking. We have not had a smooth road but that’s ok.  Its not when you drive on the good roads that you know the durability of your vehicle, its when you slam into a pot-hole in the middle of the night while making a late night run to Wingstop for some lemon pepper wings and keep on truckin’ (yes that happened to me).

This was the text message I received from my running back coach (Chad Scott) last week “Don’t wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Weak men wait for opportunities; strong men make them.” This has been on my mind constantly this week. Am I seizing everyday occasions and making them into extraordinary opportunities, or am I just waiting for life to give me a handout? I think about things like this often. Its crazy how your perspective can change when you view everyday common occasions as opportunities. “Do you wanna be good, or do you wanna be great?” This is the question that Coach Scott asks me every day before practice. It’s really a gut check question every time he asks me.  The more I think about that question, the more I take that question off the football field and into other aspects of my life. When you really think about it, its hard to be great at something in your life when your ok with being sub-par in another area.

I am a very organized and clean person when it comes to my house. However, guess what the one chore is that I absolutely hate doing? If you guessed taking out the trash, BINGO! You win. Sometimes I will go on a complete cleaning spree (usually on Mondays) and clean everything in my entire house, and then neglect taking out the trash.

Funny thing is this; even after I clean my whole house from top to bottom but don’t take out the trash in the kitchen guess what happens? I’ll tell you what happens! The funky trash stinks up my whole house even though everything else is clean.

Like I said, its hard to be great at something when your ok with being sub-par in another area.

It doesn’t matter how well I clean my house if I leave my rotting chicken bones from Wingstop in the trash! My house is going to stink! It’s going to have the false appearance of being clean but the stench will always be there. It’s pretty easy to live life the same way sometimes.

My challenge to my self this week is this.  Take out my trash! Do the things that I don’t like to do, and not only do them but be great at them. This past week I hadn’t taken out my garbage and it showed. The other day I lost my temper and flipped out on two people that didn’t deserve it. To those two people (you know who you are) I am sincerely sorry. I had cleaned everything but had neglected to take out the trash. My smelly lemon pepper bones from Wingstop surfaced. My bad, it won’t happen again. I threw them away.

Greatness is a habit and nothing more. It’s choosing to do the things you don’t like to do and being great at those things as well.

Ill leave ya’ll with this week’s food for thought (yes I said “ya’ll” I’m from West Texas).  In the words of Coach Scott “Do you wanna be good, or do you wanna be great?” and if your response is “I wanna be great coach” you better be sure to take out your smelly garbage.

Wreck em’ and God Bless.
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are you gonna drink that?

DIARY 10

We are at the midpoint of the season and we are straddling the fence at 3-3 with a 1-3 conference record.

This past Saturday we lost to Oklahoma State at home. I think this might have been one of the more frustrating losses just because I know how hard the team has been working for the past few weeks. If someone had told me that at this point in the season we would be a 3-3 football team I wouldn’t have believed it. However the record is what it is, but there is still a lot of football left to play. This week we head to Boulder, CO to take on the Buffaloes. This is a pivotal point in our season because we have our backs against the wall. I love it! I’m the type of person that loves high-pressure situations where it requires a “clutch” performance. Its like the tenth frame in bowling when your down by 29 pins and need to strike out! Yes I just used a bowling reference!

I think the Rolling Stones had it right: “No, you can’t always get what you want; you can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, well you just might find. 
You get what you need.” With that being said, there are three types of mentalities that people can have. Some people have the pessimistic glass half empty mentality. Some people have the optimistic glass half full approach.  My mentality is neither. My approach is this: “are you going to drink that?”

The “are you going to drink that?” mentality is something that I have had to grow up having. It’s the realization that nothing is given and success is not appointed. It’s the “scrappy” mentality. The “scrappy” mentality knows that everyday you have to go to work with your lunch pail and hardhat. It’s not being too good for crumbs that are left behind after a banquet because the “scrappy” mentality is always hungry. When the “scrappy” mentality see’s a cup left out whether it is half full, or half empty asks, “Are you going to drink that?” because the “scrappy” mentality doesn’t know when the next drink will be. The “scrappy” mentality takes nothing for granted.

I am a firm believer that hard work always pays off. Sometimes it might not be when or how you might have imagined, but it always pays off. This week a fan asked me “So how is the team feeling? The season is lost huh?” I sat and thought for a minute before I responded “absolutely not”.  There are still many more cups left to drink.

The easiest thing in the world to do is quit on something. Quitting takes zero effort. Quitting can even be justified with excuses and legitimate reasons at times. When someone quits at something they can even lie to themselves by saying that what they quit on wasn’t that important. To those people with that mentality this is what I have to say. If it was important enough to start, it is important enough to finish. Don’t quit. Hold on, cling to what is yours until your fingers cramp; and once your fingers cramp switch hands.

Saturday a Rutgers University football player named Eric LeGrand was paralyzed from the neck down after a hit on a kickoff.  I encourage everyone to keep him and his family in your thoughts and prayers. After hearing this news everything was put into perspective for me. Most fans don’t like to hear that winning isn’t everything, but it’s not. I’m sorry if that busted your bubble. Football is a game just like ping-pong. Don’t get me wrong, I love it and it’s important to me; but a game nonetheless.

Life is real. Life is what matters. Helping and investing in others is what’s really important. In this day and age it’s easy to get caught up in the hype of the moment. It’s easy to consume our minds with winning and losing when neither is what life is about. When winning or success becomes everything its easy to quit when that is not attained. I challenge everyone to invest. Not in the stock market, but in people. When all is said and done that’s what it’s about, because when you really think about it; someone invested in you. What you invest in others it the return for your investor. Are you cheating someone out of their investment? Are you a thief?

This week’s food for thought is several “gut check” questions.

1.) Who invested in you?
2.) Are you making a return on their investment?
3.) Are you finishing what you started?

And last but not least. Are you going to drink that? Because if not, pass it my way!

Wreck em’ and God bless.
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comparisons

DIARY 9

Last week I was approached by a woman in the supermarket who asked, “Are you Baron Batch the writer?”

At first I wasn’t sure how to respond, simply because I never thought that I would be known as a writer in a million years. Interesting how things can turn out sometimes! I should have responded “yeah people get me and my evil twin Baron “Vaun” Batch mixed up all the time, he plays running back and isn’t nearly as interesting.”

This past week we got back on track with a win over a very talented Baylor football team. I’m proud of the way the team played and fought. Winning games in the Big12 isn’t easy and every single victory is huge. We also posted the first ever Texas Tech victory in the Cotton Bowl, which I think is pretty cool. I think the offense is coming along and playing well, we still have a ton of room to improve though. We have Oklahoma State, a heck of a team this week at home! So all of you come out and be crazy!

So every week I challenge myself with something to get better at. These things can be football related or simply life related. For example, last week I challenged myself to successfully keep my road rage in check. Ill be honest, I failed miserably. Look people, its ok to turn right on red, and some streets have merging lanes so you don’t have to stop and yield, you can just go. To the girl that was texting and driving and almost took me out, shame on you! Go watch the movie 7 pounds starring Will Smith, if Will Smith crashes his car because he’s texting and driving you surely will. Don’t text and drive its not safe! I apologize for my rant, but it was necessary. What was I talking about? Oh yeah!  Guess what my focus and goal was this week? For those of you that guessed to beat Baylor, you are wrong. For those of you that guessed to play a really good game, you are wrong as well. This past week my challenge to myself was this; quit making comparisons.

So what do I mean by that? What does it mean to quit making comparisons? There is no philosophical or deep meaning behind it, but once you can do it life gets a lot easier. Let me explain, but before I do I must say this. For those of you that read my column please don’t assume that I always know what I’m talking about, sometimes my thoughts don’t even make sense to me so I don’t expect them to always make sense to you all! Hopefully they do because that is the goal, but in the event that your mind can’t comprehend what I’m talking about this is what you can do. Turn off MTV and quit watching Jersey Shore. It’s not good for you. Unless of course you’re having a terrible day and need something to put in perspective how good your life really is.  Ok I’m rambling again (this is the result of a large vanilla latte). I will get to the point.

So over the past few weeks I have been tracking every other running back’s stats like a fanatic fantasy football team owner, comparing my own stats to other running backs, and was actually getting frustrated that mine didn’t match up or compare to some of theirs. It was driving me crazy. It was making me stress. It was not allowing me to enjoy playing the game that I love. It was making me jealous, and in Jersey Shore lingo I was becoming a serious “hater to the max.”

Making comparisons is a dangerous thing when you think about it. Comparisons can make you not realize what you have, and can even de-value the success that you should be proud of. Comparisons are pointless and useless. Comparisons are childish.

So this week I thought to myself “why the heck are you making all these comparisons? Just stop, your being ridiculous! Be content, you are blessed”. So that was my approach this past week and will continue to be. So I deleted the score center application off or my iPhone so that I wasn’t tempted to track stats. 

So after tossing all comparisons out the window, guess what happened? Irony struck me in the face again! Its funny how sometimes before you can grasp on to something you have to let go of something else. Ironically after letting go of all the comparisons, I was able to grasp what is important. So what is important? Being you. Not only being you but also being proud of it.  Not only being proud of it, but enjoying it.

It’s funny how I had my best game of the season after quitting all the comparisons (also the offensive line played great, props to the big fellas).

So for those of you that are wasting your time making useless comparisons to others, my advice is this. Don’t waste your time. You are who you are for a reason, and have what you have for a reason; be the best you can be and don’t worry about what you cant control. Life is too short to waste time comparing yours to any one else’s. Live your life and enjoy it, there are no re-do’s!

This week’s food for thought it this. Are you living your life or just comparing it?

Wreck em’ and God bless.

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perfect timing

DIARY 8

Saturday night I couldn’t sleep.

It’s pretty difficult to write down my thoughts and what I’m feeling after losing a game the way we did. Frustration would be the best word to describe it. We didn’t play like we should have on offense, defense, or special teams. However, the season is still young, and everyone is more determined than ever, from the coaches down. We will keep working, and work harder than ever. Something I heard this week that I thought was pretty cool was this. God put our eyes the front of our head for a reason, so we can only look forward and not back.

Something I struggle with is when my plans and Gods plans meet, but they don’t match up. I think that’s something that many people reading this can relate to. Before the season, and before I started writing this weekly column I would inquire to myself and think “ what the heck am I going to write if the season doesn’t go as planned, or after a loss?” that was something I feared. Sometimes is hard to move out of the way, and let go of what we think is the best for us. I know that’s hard for me.  It’s difficult to accept that I can’t change the past but only work harder for the future, and even harder to write this down and have it published for everyone to see. Having said that, the feedback and emails that I have received from readers has been amazing and undoubtedly encouraging. Thank you. My goal when I started writing this column was to be real with people through the good and bad. I just want to thank all of the fans and awesome people that encourage the team and I.

Ok, now I have a pretty neat story to share that happened Monday.

Warning: I am about to venture off on what will seem like a random story, but I promise it will make sense, trust me.

So Friday night before the game, after looking over the game plan and watching my DVD on the opponent, I got bored and started to shop online for dress ties on Amazon from my iphone (Recently I have been on a tie buying frenzy, I have been buying ties as quickly as all my friends are getting engaged or married, and that’s a ridiculous amount). I ended up purchasing 2 ties at 10:46pm on Friday night for 40 dollars and 22 cents.

As I have mentioned in previous columns, Monday is my day off. I don’t have class or football, just a lot of free time. Free time after a loss isn’t a good thing for me because my mind starts to wander and replay the game like a slideshow, and I find myself getting frustrated and angry all over again. Monday is also the day that I write my column being that I have so much free time.

So Monday I’m sitting in my living room trying to come up with something good to write for this week’s column, and I’m having serious writers block mainly because I have Saturday nights game flashing through my head. The frustration ensues. I start to get annoyed. Annoyance shifts to frustration and frustration morphs into anger. I take a break. I try and gather ideas and turn on the T.V and there is a commercial for cake mix on, and the word “moist” is used. Anger builds even more because “moist” is my most hated word in the English language.

I grab the remote to change the channel and it slips out of my hand and falls to the floor and the batteries fly out. I get up to put the batteries back in the remote and stub my toe. This was the last straw. When I get really mad I will yell really loudly to get the frustration out and then I’m good. I begin to yell (those of you that know me personally are probably laughing hysterically at this). Luckily the cops weren’t called for a noise complaint or domestic abuse by my neighbors. I finish throwing my tantrum and sit down huffing and puffing. I start to think about the whole situation and think “God that wasn’t all that funny.”

Then I hear a knock at the door. I get nervous because I think that it’s someone checking to see if everything is ok.  I get up and hobble to the door, my toe throbbing with its own little heartbeat. I look through the peephole in the door and it’s the UPS man (with the dress ties I ordered off of Amazon). I get really embarrassed wondering if he heard me yelling (but I don’t blush because black people don’t do that). I open the door to sign for my package and the UPS man say’s “ how are you Baron? My wife and I love reading your weekly column in the paper. Tough loss Saturday but don’t let it get you down, just keep working hard and things will be fine.” Immediately my attitude changed from frustration to complete joy. I said thanks and said I appreciate it. I signed for my package and as I’m walking into my house I look down and see something that the UPS man had scribbled on the package. This is what it said: “God does have a sense of humor.” All I could do was smile. So to the UPS man that not only removed my writer’s block and eased frustration but also brightened my day, thank you.

With all that being said, not only does God have a serious sense of humor, his timing is ridiculously perfect.  Hopefully this story brightened your day as well. So this week’s food for thought it this. Are you stuck in park staring in the rearview mirror? Or are you pressing down the gas pedal moving forward, only glancing in the rearview mirror to remember what you’re driving away from?

Wreck em’ and God bless.
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a pretty cool story!

I received this email this morning! Absolutely brightened my day. If you have a story shoot it to me so I can share it!

I recently read your testimony “I am Second” and what a true blessing! I want to share this story with you and thank you and God for your inspiration.

My nephew Trent who is 11 years old has been a football fanatic since he was born! Down, set hut were some of his first words. He admired Emmit Smith with a passion, cried if he couldn’t wear a football jersey and well just loved the game. When he started playing YFL it was the “Trent Ward Show.” He was the fastest, hardest hitting player on his team every year. Scored touchdowns every time he touched the ball and could hit like monster. The best part about it was that he was so humble and selfless. He didn’t care how many tackles or touchdowns he had. Never asked the score or cared if they won or lost. As long as he played hard and was able to play football, thats all he could ask for. He was loved and respected by his coaches and teammates greatly.

My sister relocated to Chicago 2 years ago and of course Trent went with her. It has been pretty tough on him. Taking a child away from everything he has known since birth can be hard on one. They enrolled him in Pop Warner football last year and it was a sideline year. He didn’t get to carry the ball, play D or really play at all. It crushed his spirit, his confidence and his love for the game. He begged to come back to Texas. His attitude, academics and overall character has changed dramatically. YFL is off and going again for this fall. Once again T is getting very little play time. They have him playing a position that is not ideal in his mind. He wants the ball, he wants to hit hard he wants to be the playmaker. He cries when he has to go to practice, he doesn’t work hard at practice, he hates football and wants to quite.

After reading your testimony I immediately thought of Trent. I called my sister and told her i was forwarding her your story and to please read it to Trent. She said he loved it and just smiled. That was 2 weeks ago. Trent’s eyes, his heart and his spirit have been opened. He is excited for practice, works his tail off in practice, apologized to the coach for not putting %100 in every day and asked if he could have a chance to run the ball. He scored his first touchdown in two years last Sunday.

I believe that God puts people in our paths for a reason. He put you in ours. Trent met you your Freshman year at Meet the Raiders. It had little meaning back then except that is was fun and cool to meet football players. It has unmeasurable meaning to him now. You have not only inspired my mom, my sister and myself, but through the work of God you put a flame in a young man that needed a spark. 

I am a mother with a 2 year old son who shares a birthday with you. I am raising him to be a man of God and when he is old enough to understand I will share your testimony with him and have his Uncle Trent share his. 

God is Good! Thank you Baron.
Amber

practice makes perfect

DIARY 7

It was nice not having a game this weekend and being able to relax.

I had Friday and Saturday completely off and didn’t watch a lick of football. It was awesome. I fired up the grill and cooked a ridiculous amount of food (jalapeo poppers, burgers, sausage). Don’t be jealous! I made the mistake of feeding a stray cat that had ventured into my back yard. The reason it was a mistake was because the next day he brought some of his friends, and the following night he brought his family.

I think fall is officially here. The weather is cooling off and I’m beginning to get ashy more frequently (yes, frequent ashyness is a sign of fall!). Another sign is when the look on campus shifts from girls in Nike running shorts, T-shirts and flip flops to girls in Nike running shorts, T-shirts, and Ugg boots. (Once it gets really cold, leggings will come into play). On a more serious note, this week we got a new ping-pong table in the locker room and tragically I am 0-3 on it; the only explanation is that it is cursed.

The week off has really given me some time to sit and reflect on some things. It’s funny how similar the game of football is to life. Yes, football is just a game but it has all the characteristics, problems, and situations that life has on a smaller scale.

For starters, in both football and life you have to go to practice. You have to buckle up your chinstrap, put in your mouthpiece and bite down hard. Practices and life consist of daily decisions and choices that are a result of discipline or lack thereof that will dictate your performance in games. In life, your problems, stressful situations, and rough days equate to the long, hot and painful days of practice on the football field.

In both types of practices there are two types of people. Person No. 1 one and Person No. 2 are more alike than most people know, or care to acknowledge. Both people think about quitting. Both people think about how hot practice is. Both people get knocked down, feel pain and sustain injuries. The thing that differentiates person No. 1 from person No. 2 is this: When person No. 1 thinks about quitting, he also thinks about whom he would be quitting on, and realizes that it’s not an option. When person No. 1 thinks about how hot practice is, he also realizes it’s all preparation for a game. When person No. 1 gets knocked down, feels pain, or gets injured, he realizes he isn’t the only one it’s happened to and he gets up.

Secondly, in both football and life, you have your games. In life, your games are the key decisions, situations, and events that can determine how your life turns out, and there aren’t many. Practice will always dictate how you perform in games. Through my time playing football, I have come to realize there is no such thing as a “lights player.” A lights player is someone who doesn’t utilize practice and expects to be successful in games, when the lights come on. It never happens. The effort you give in practice is the effort you will see in a game. In life when things get rough, the way you respond to the situation is a result of how you practiced. There is no such thing as a lights player.

Thirdly, you have your wins and losses. Wins and losses are a result of how you performed in games, but in larger part a result of how you practiced. It all starts with practice. There is no such thing as a lights player. Losses are sometimes out of our control. Sometimes you practice hard and lose. Sometimes you get lucky, and practice bad and win. Ironically enough, it’s never your approach to the games that results in a win or loss, it’s your approach to practice.

So this week’s food for thought is two things: One, are you person No. 1 or person No. 2? Two, what is your approach to practice?

Wreck ’em and God bless.

Good day

Today I got the chance to speak to the Youth at Southcrest.

It was a blast, love those kids! I spoke out of Jeremiah. It was about how Jeremiah voiced a complaint to God about why the wicked succeed.

Jeremiah’s Complaint
You are always righteous, O LORD,
when I bring a case before you.
Yet I would speak with you about your justice:
Why does the way of the wicked prosper?
Why do all the faithless live at ease?
God’s Answer
“If you have raced with men on foot
and they have worn you out,
how can you compete with horses?

Gosh I love Gods answer!! This might be one of my new favorite verses.
 
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