Yearly Archives: 2012

Diary 51 (As simple as salt and pepper)

“Hey Baron this is Kevin Colbert, give me a call back when you get a chance.”

That was the voicemail I received a few weeks ago on my day off.

Kevin Colbert is the general manager of the Steelers, and rarely is it a good thing to get a call from the GM of the team… especially on an off day.

Knowing the team’s injury situations I knew what the call was. I knew what was about to happen before dialing the number back, so I braced myself for what was coming.

I knew a brotha was about to be fired…and ironically on my day off.

Dang.

I’ve been booted from a few study groups back in college, but have never actually been fired from anything before. Turns out the rumors are all true. Being fired sucks.

“We are going to have to release you. We’ve decided to make a roster move with you to make some room due to injuries, come into my office and Coach Tomlin and I will explain it.”

“Ok I’ll be there in a few minutes.”  I replied.

After speaking with Mr. Colbert and Coach Tomlin they explained the situation of me being released. The NFL is a business, and has to be treated as such. Business moves are made everyday. The tricky part is not taking any of those business moves personal, and I definitely understood the business move.  Thankfully I had practice squad eligibility left being that I didn’t play last year, and was told that I would be re-signed in a day if I cleared the waiver wire.

After being released players go on the ‘waiver wire’, where they can be picked up by any team for the next 24 hours. And if a team claims you off the waiver wire, and wants to sign you to their active roster you have to go. Its not a good feeling knowing that someone could call you at any point, and all of a sudden you have to start over in a new city.

Not a good feeling at all.

Dang it. I’m unemployed. No health insurance. No paycheck…. help me Obama!

Help me please!

The following day was one of the longest days I’ve experienced in a while. As minutes and hours crawled by I prayed that my phone didn’t ring. Practice squad in a place that I love in my opinion beats a game check. My phone never rang, and later the next day as promised I was resigned to the practice squad.

That was two weeks ago.

The past few weeks have been quite the learning experience. I guess sometimes you cant self evaluate your spirit until you get certain things stripped away from you. For me it was my job.  Something I felt I had worked hard for, and deserved more than anything.

Entitlement is a tricky little demon indeed.

Would I have chosen for my job to be what was stripped away? Heck no!

But that sounds about right. I guess that’s the way a child responds when a parent takes something away to prove a point.

Like a little ashy black baby, deep down I was kicking and screaming, soaking up my tears with my poufy afro.

While on the outside I tried to trick God by saying…. “Of course I trust you!”

How typical.

I can only imagine him simply smiling while saying,

“Hmm…just show me.”

I guess the best time to measure trust is when it’s put on display. Yes, sometimes the process can be rough but in the end is always worth it.

And this process is quite familiar to me.

I’m not sure why it always comes as a surprise. I should know what spiritual growth looks like by now.

But I guess if I wasn’t uncomfortable then it wouldn’t be growth. Kind of like when adolescents hit their growth spurts their knees ache…. or something like that.

Gosh my knees are hurting right about now.

Hmmm…. I think I’m growing.  I mean my knees have been achy…. maybe they’re growing?

Well… I guess I am a Kneegrow.

It’s weird coming into the locker room on Fridays and not seeing my bag there that I usually pack up for Sunday’s game. It’s been even more difficult watching my teammates that I’ve played with the entire season go out and play without being there. The games are pretty difficult to watch on TV.

It’s been beyond humbling. And in all seriousness has forced me into another uncomfortably awesome stage, the stage that in all reality I’m thankful for. If nothing has ever come easy for you in life, be thankful for that. It means you’ve had countless opportunities to grow.

Life changes quite a bit once you learn to be thankful for the things that are difficult.

This past Saturday I needed to clear my head. For me sometimes the best thing is to simply go where it’s quiet. Where distractions are minimized.

So I climbed into my car and drove with no real destination in mind. Driving helps me clear my head I guess. For some reason I can think best behind the wheel. The constant sound of the car engine, and tires against the road are hypnotic, and somehow eliminate the unnecessary spices that at times tend to marinate my mind?

Like a good steak, no marinating is needed

What’s wrong with me?

Any Texan should know that would ruin a good steak.

Things like that can ruin a good person.

And things like that can ruin a dream.

(These are the things I think about while driving.)

Sometimes salt, pepper and an open flame are all that’s required. A good steak is supposed to taste how God intended it to, with just the basic essentials.

Maybe this NFL dream of mine is supposed to taste just as God intended as well?

For me I find solitude in eliminating all the other ingredients that tend to marinate my mind.

The spices of  ‘what if?’ , ‘maybe I should have?’ ,  and ‘why?’.  All mixed together in an over salted vat of ‘doubt’, and left to soak this perfect God given dream of mine.

So I drive with my hands on the wheel, and eyes on the road. Letting the engine’s gentle humming clear the clatter between my ears, while the soothing vibrations of the tires against the road shake my mind of the useless spices.

Through the windy roads of Western Pennsylvania I drive, with no destination in mind.  All the while, fighting to reassure myself that the purest hopes and dreams are meant to taste the way God intended, and best lightly seasoned with one thing.

Any Texan knows too many spices can ruin a good steak.

Any Texas knows its as simple as salt and pepper.

What’s wrong with me?

(These are the things I think about while driving.)

How ironic that seasoning something to make it taste better, can simply end up ruining it. It’s quite ridiculous how quickly I repeatedly forget that God given hopes and dreams always taste best when simply sprinkled with one basic and essential seasoning.

I really should stop adding my own ingredients to this.

Cooking a good steak really isn’t that difficult, and it’s amazing what a bit of salt and black pepper can do.

But try tasting a God given dream covered in trust.

Seasoned with the basic essentials, and tasting just how it was meant to.

What a simple concept I so easily forget.

Honestly I’m not sure how long I’ll be on the practice squad, or if I’ll get moved back to the active roster, or in all reality play a game in the NFL again. All those things may or may not happen. That’s the crazy thing about this profession I guess.

The uncertainty of it all.

I Guess this whole ‘life’ thing we’re all living is very much the same.

Here today and gone tomorrow. Job today, unemployed the next. It quite certainly is the most uncertain thing of all.

But at the end of the day anything that’s certain wouldn’t require trust. And that would be just as ludicrous as seasoning a perfect piece of steak with all the wrong spices.

Just like a good steak with salt and pepper, life tastes so much better when simply seasoned with trust.

(These are the things I think about while driving.)

I’ve been driving for a while now, and it’s beginning to get dark. I glance down at my GPS to see exactly where I’m at, being that I’ve just been taking random roads the entire time.  A GPS is always reassuring to have on a random road trip.  It’s nice to know you won’t get lost, when cell phone service fades on the back roads.

As I peek closer at my cars GPS to see exactly where in Western PA I am, all fear of being lost fades. Because I trust it to get me to where I need to go. I’m so quick to trust my car for directions. It’s funny how clear things become when I’m driving and distractions are eliminated. But I guess these are the things that I think about while driving.

I think about how the team is probably landing in Baltimore right about now to play the Ravens, and how I’m not there. I start to get aggravated all over again. Frustration builds.

I try to trick God again as I think to myself,

“Of course I trust you!”

Feeling guilty about this lie I glance back down at my GPS to see where I am, while trying hard to shake the unnecessary spices that marinate my thoughts.

As I stare at the glowing light coming from my GPS a simple truth hits me, and my left knee starts to ache. Maybe I’ve been cramped in the car too long. Possibly my surgically repaired knee needs to be stretched.

Or could this be a growing pain?

As the light from my GPS cuts through the now dark vehicle my knee continues to ache, and I can only imagine God speaking back through the humming of the car engine, and soothing vibrations of the tires against the road gently saying,

“You easily trust your GPS, but I’m so much more. I know everywhere that you’ve been, because I was there too.  I know everywhere that you’ll ever go, because I’ve already been there. On the roads you thought you traveled alone, I never left you.

Trust me”.

 

Blessings,

Baron

 

Posted 1 year ago

 

Charity Art Show

8 months ago I started painting because I had tons of wall space and time on my hands while rehabbing my knee. I have never taken classes and just kind of learned on the fly. I remember going to buy my paint for the first time,  and bought screen printing paint and couldn’t figure out why if wouldn’t dry. Upset that I wasted so much money on paint that I couldn’t use I almost gave up on painting all together. Luckily I stuck with it, because its amazing what God can do if you just stick with something you have passion for.  I have come a long way since those days! I would have never imagine that I would have a one man art show, but last week it actually happened. Painting is something that I have truly come to love over the past year. It’s kind of therapeutic for me, it’s one of the few things that completely takes my mind off of everything that I have going on. Ironically I think I have fallen more in love with the process of creating art more than actually being able to hang it and look at it. I was approached by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation here in Pittsburgh to show my art and auction off a few pieces. The event was awesome! We raised about 12k benefiting the CF foundation. Here is a short video of the event! Enjoy.

 

Posted 1 year ago

 

Diary 50 (The little things)

The last time my dad attended one of my football games I was in High School. I guess I never realized how long it had been, until I invited to fly him and my younger brother Brandon to Pittsburgh for our game against the Washington Redskins.  10 years ago the idea of being able to fly my family across the country for a football game would have seemed impossible. Out of all the things that football has allowed me to experience up to this point, it always seems to be the little things like that, that are the sweetest rewards of all.

“It’s all about the little things.”

A lot has happened over the past few months. I’ve had my fair share of highs and lows in my first year playing up to this point, from making the team, to scoring my first NFL touchdown and being a team captain, to letting a sure touchdown pass slip through my fingers on national television. It’s been quite the year so far…. and I absolutely love it.

I guess the trick of it all is not getting too high on your highs or too low on your lows.

“It’s all about the little things.”

This will be my 50th Diary that I have written. It’s pretty crazy to think there have been that many really.

It’s even crazier to know that many of you have been following my story up to this point. I think the coolest thing about scoring my first touchdown a few weeks back was knowing that so many of you that have supported me might of well have been there in the end zone right along with me.

Pittsburgh has grown on me quite a bit. It’s to the point where I’d consider it as home. There aren’t many people I’ve encountered that are as proud as Texans, but Pittsburghers are right up there. So I guess I’m like extra proud these days.

I have finally found a legit group of friends, and most importantly moved into a house and built a fire pit in my backyard like my old one back in Texas.

It’s a good feeling to be settled after two years of uncertainty.

“It’s all about the little things.”

Over the past few months this is what God has been reminding me of daily.

“Enjoy the little things Baron.”

I feel like I had gotten away from that. I feel like I had been so fixated on the major accomplishments that I had forgotten about all the awesome little things until recently.

It’s amazing how easy it is to avoid riding the emotional rollercoaster life can be when you remember to count your blessings.

For me it’s been my family, fire pit and friends.

“Its all about the little things.”

That’s what I’m going to keep reminding myself.

Count your blessings.

Count them twice so you don’t forget.

 

Blessings,

Baron

 

Posted 1 year ago

 

Charity Art Showing yo!

Ok so heres the deal. As many of you know I paint. The sole reason I started to paint was simply to take up time while I was back in Pittsburgh rehabbing my knee and decorate my empty walls.  Well…come to find out I really enjoy doing it. Not only do I love doing it, but it also turns out that some people like my work. Its flattering really. About 4 months ago I was approached by a friend who works with the Cystic Fibrosis foundation here in Pittsburgh to do a charity gallery showing. At first I was hesitant being that a lot of my art is personal but the more I thought about it I figured that I should absolutely use a talent that God has blessed me with, especially if it could help others. It’s pretty interesting that things God will use sometimes. Never in a million years would I have imagined that I would ever have a one man art showing….but its happening. If you happen to be in Pittsburgh or want to come I would love to meet you and have you bid on some of my work. Thanks again! Hope to see yall there.

blessings,

baron

 

 

Posted 1 year ago