The Butterfly Is Here!

Between sophomore year of high school and junior year really transformed me, and of course I’m not just talking about the culmination of puberty. The cocoon had broken, and now I was a social butterfly.

I look back now and it’s hard to believe how it happen, and that I have maintained it for over 20 years.

Well I was preparing for my first season of varsity football, determined to show I was tough and could play with the big boys. I worked my tail off in the weight room, got into better shape, and learned more about the game. I was gonna shine, even if I didn’t see much playing time due to a large and talented senior class.

Also, I spent six weeks at the Upward Bound program at USC-Upstate (then USC-Spartanburg). That program, along with football, allowed me the opportunity to become more social with a different crowd, prepared me for life after high school, and showed me another world outside of my small hometown. I was a new young man indeed. More confidence, swagger, and simply more driven.

I returned to Blacksburg High in the fall of 1994 for my junior year on a mission. To achieve as highly as I could, and be my best self. My grades improved dramatically, I was much more social and less anxious, and I was known on the football team for my hard work and determination. I didn’t see the field much, but one game I did and the student section chanted “Rudy, Rudy, Rudy!” , reminiscent of the sports movie classic Rudy. He never gave up in life and neither did I. I even received Defensive Player Of The Week for that game, despite playing only two series.

Things were sky high for me. I still had insecurities regarding the ladies and not yet having my own vehicle. However, I was more popular in school than I had ever been. This was one of the best years of my entire life, and served as a springboard for the future.



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