Diary 56 (It all falls down part 2)

Sorry to disappoint, but no, I did not tear down my home with my bare hands.

No, I did not shed any tears over getting cut.

Actually, everyone else was much more disappointed upon hearing the news than I was.

I wasn’t disappointed at all.

And this is why.

Actually after leaving the Steelers facility for the last time, I went straight to my art studio located on the third floor of my house and began to paint.

And at that moment an awesome feeling washed over me. I remember thinking,

“This is my job now. I’m my boss.”

Pretty cool thought.

And as I moved forward from football that day, the swaying tower crumbled.

And just like that, the least interesting thing about my life was gone.

I learned the dangers of only having one swaying tower a long time ago, and since then I have stayed busy building multiple towers with more stable foundations than athletics.

Because unlike some, I’ve been blessed to understand and believe the truth that football has been a swaying tower ready to collapse for quite some time. In fact, that tower began to sway the moment I first began to play way back in 7th grade at Goddard Junior High School in Midland, Texas.

The reality is that from the moment I ever began playing football, the clock began to tick as to when it would end for me, and over the last 5 years I have done everything in my power to ensure that it would not be my only option.

I refused to ever become crushed under the weight of the rubble of my own creation, entrapped in a tomb of crumbled time, work, emotion, dedication and love, wondering what exactly happened and surprised at the fact that the tall swaying structure eventually collapsed.

Because when you stack and stack and stack.

Eventually.

If all falls down.

“What are you going to do when you’re done playing football?”

I was asked that question frequently while I was still playing, and my response was always, “Continue to do everything that I am doing now.”

And because of that, I have not missed football for a second, because of that I am fulfilled, and because of that I am very happy.

Since I’ve decided to move onto other challenges and goals in life and leave the game of football, I have realized one gigantic truth as to what football did for me that I’m more thankful for than anything.

Because of football I am competitive.

Because of football I appreciate and accept hard work as part of life.

Because of football I began to write.

Because of football I began to speak.

Because of football I began to paint.

Because of football I began to make salsa.

Because of football I moved to Pittsburgh, a city that I love.

Because of football I have friendships that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

Many athletes identify with the game so much that when it is gone they are stripped of their identity.

Strangely enough it was the other way around for me, and I thank God for allowing me to see this.

Football did give me my identity in a strange way. But it was never that of a football player. It was as a writer, traveler, photographer, artist, chef, speaker and many other things.

And that’s because I was blessed to see that when you stack, and stack, and stack all you have into one swaying tower, eventually…

It all falls down.

But my towers are many.

Out of all the touchdowns and plays that I made, and things I got to do and see because of football, I am thankful for one thing more than anything else that it did for me.

Football allowed me to walk away proudly from it, and into a life that is better than only being a football player could ever be.

Football and I had a beautiful love affair and an even lovelier divorce.

We have parted ways on good terms appreciating the time we had together, and understanding that our time was limited all along.

From the moment we met, we began to part ways.

From the day we fell in love on the football fields of Goddard Junior High School all those years ago back in Midland, Texas, until our separation; it has been quite the adventure.

Football my dearest, thank you.

Without you I am everything I was meant and made to be, but meeting you helped me get here.

Thank you for the injuries and scars. Thank you for the memories.

You will not be missed or mourned; no tears will be shed for you.

Football my dearest, you are only appreciated.

You were a big chapter in my life with so many stories.

Stories of both triumph and failure.

But at the end of the day, you were just that; only a chapter in my book. And in a strange way deep down I always knew you wouldn’t be the most important one.

Strangely enough my fingers are not sticking to the pages when closing this chapter. It’s quite easy actually.

All the words have been written, and I’m proud of the pages before me.

I am who I want to be, but not who I can be. I am where I want to be, but have many places left to go. I am who I am.

And I am happy.

My old chapter is done. A new chapter starts now.

 

Blessings,

Baron

Posted 10 months ago

 

Diary 55 (It all falls down)

When you build a single earthly thing into all you have, by stacking time, effort, emotions, work, dedication, and love into a swaying tower. That thing will become weak.

And at some point …

It all falls down.

Getting cut from the Pittsburgh Steelers was the hardest thing that I have ever had to go through in my life. It was awful. I didn’t think that it would hit me like it did. I haven’t cried in years but that day I bawled my eyes out like a little baby.

Big heavy crocodile tears.

Tears so big that they had tears of their own.

They streamed down my cheeks and pooled into the corners of my mouth where hopeless emotions canoed without direction.

When I got the call to come meet with Coach T and Kevin Colbert the general manager because I was getting released, I punched a hole in the brick wall of my house, straight through to the outside.  I didn’t even feel any pain because my emotions were running so high.

I think it gave me super human strength or something like that.

Dang it.

If only I could have tapped into these powers throughout the pre-season maybe I would have done enough to make the team!

“I hate you Baron! I hate you. You let me down.”

“But I gave it my all man! I really did, we both know that.”

“Just shut up. Be quiet. You’re a failure. You squandered such an opportunity. You wasted the only good thing you had. Good luck with life now ya bum!”

With the growing intensity of this internal dialogue also came increased superhuman strength. As I stormed out of my house I didn’t even bother opening the heavy wooden door to exit, I simply reared back and kicked that thing straight off the hinges.

I still couldn’t believe this was happening. I was getting fired. I was losing my job.

Again …

And on my day off on top of that!

I was having the one good thing that I had going taken from me. I had put all I had into football and nothing else. And now it was ending.

As I stormed out of my house to my car, I punched the two brick pillars that held the entire weight of my front awning that cover my porch.

With these two powerful anger filled blows, the two pillars disintegrated into dust.  And as I began to walk away from the home that I had just remodeled and finally felt comfortable in, behind me it began to crumble into pieces.

My entire home began to fall apart and collapse.

I knew that my football career, my life, and all my talents were doomed to follow.

Gone.

All the things that I cared about and built were crumbling before me.

And just like the dust cloud that was once my home that sat in rubbles behind me.

All was lost.

I had built a swaying tower. Stacking all I had on top of something with a fairly uncertain base and even more so unstable.

And the thing that I had feared of happening all along, played out in the matter of seconds in the form of one dreaded phone call.

And just like that.

When you stack, and stack, and stack…

It all falls down.

 

Wait.

Hold on.

That’s just how most people that don’t know me well assumed I would have reacted.

That isn’t what happened at all.

But come on guys! You all should know better. You know me.

Come back next week to hear the rest.

Posted 10 months ago

 

Hooves of Legacy (Part 3 of the Fearless Series)

On West Texas sunsets far he rides

Discontent yet satisfied

Rolling clouds they root him on

In the distance courageous songs they hum

Where others feared, The Rider went

To leave his mark, the hill was his

This lofty place, most would have stopped

Atop the hill the pretentious mock

But not the Rider, he quickly leaves

Because he knows what comes with Victory

He knows that Content is on his heels

Where Victors stop, Pride slowly kills

Gloating, lazy, satisfied

They construct a tomb where passion dies

Then willingly they climb inside

Where the top is sealed by the Victors pride

But the Rider knows what few can see

There’s no such thing as Victory

A mirage for those that lack the will

To forever ride ignoring hills

Those discouraged, by valleys dark

Who eye high ground, where they plan to stop

But he is discontent with victory

Because what he pursues is Legacy

On this pursuit he will conquer hills

And valleys deep that strengthen will

But pounding hooves, these never stop

Not in valleys low, or hills atop

Hills become mountains, and strength is gained

And after mountains, canyons await

Forever riding the highs and lows

The Rider learns what few come to know

Guns held high with glowing light

He proceeds into the dark of night

A valley could await, or possibly a hill

Rejoicing mountains, or canyons of tears

Purpose begins when hooves meet the ground

And when hooves won’t stop

Legacy is found

 

hooves of legacy

 

Posted 10 months ago

 

Fearless Series (part 1 and 2)

When I began this three part series I didn’t intend  to have written parts to it. However, the more thought I gave to what this series is conveying I found it appropriate. Here are the first two pieces to this three piece series titled “Fearless”. Also, there are roughly 20 prints of the first piece (The Rider) available for pre-order. They will be available for a few more weeks. The second piece is not yet available.

To pre-order The Rider, call or email Tornado Gallery.

(806) 687-1644

tornadogallerylubbock@gmail.com

 

The Rider

 

On West Texas sunsets, far he rides

Greatness burning in his eyes

Rolling clouds, they root him on

In the distance, courageous songs they hum

Red and black, tattered cape surrounds

A brave black stallion, with thunderous hooves that pound

Bravely riding and never stopping

While Mediocrity stands mocking

A determined heart, a calling great

To leave a legacy that stays

Where few will go, into the unknown dark

Fearlessly charging, to leave his mark

Guns held high, a legacy will soar

Spirit strong, and boldly adorned

Like rain his battle cry will pour

Strive for honor evermore

The Rider

 

 

Hill of victory

 

Blanketed with red, through the unknown dark

A solemn hill, where few dare to march

Alive and daunting, this red hill breathes

Exhaling fear, even the bravest flee

Holding their breaths, they turn to run

In fear they fall, and the Hill they become

Alive, the daunting Red Hill says

“The crimson flowers, are those that fled”

But the Rider knows, what most can’t see

That the breathing Hill is Victory.

Rolling clouds, they root him on

In the distance, courageous songs they hum

With pounding hooves, and guns in hand

The Rider prepares, to claim his land

To leave his mark, where few will go

He inhales the fear, but his does not show

Victory is claimed, by the unafraid

Not ambition powered by selfish fame

It is claimed by those, that bravely breathe

Inhaling fear, but do not leave

Those that dream, to leave their mark

In the dark unknown, where few will march

Atop the Hill, Victory is claimed

A stallion rears, and a gun muzzle bangs

From the Riders gun, a spark of light

Illumination shreds the shroud of night

On the daunting hill, his mark is left

Draped with flowers, of those that fled

Inhaled the fear, but bravely breathed

Atop he exhaled Victory.

Hill of Victory

 

Posted 11 months ago