Some may call this a love story but we are going to call it a growth story that possibly a few athletes can relate to. This isn’t fully my personal story by any means but a conversation I’ve had a few times. When you think someone is making you slow down from achieving your athletic dreams becoming a distraction but really they are making you notice all of the little things in life you have taken for granted. I Didn’t Know How To Love You And Still Chase This Athletic Dream.

Love Is A Strong Word Buddy

Since I was a kid I dreamed about having my name on the world stage. You know having thousands of fans screaming my name and wearing my jersey. Sports were the first love that I thought no girl could ever replace. I visualized crowds knowing my name but now in a stadium full of hundreds of people I find myself just caring if only one face is in the crowd. And that’s you.

How did we get here? My ambition needed a clear focus. I guarded my heart like Fort Knox pushing away any girl that even thought about being a daily visitor. Somehow you got through but I think part of me wanted to try to be different.

All my boys laugh at me saying I’ve changed now as they brag about their new girl that just came in town for the game. Every time I go out with them there are always girls trying to earn their Mrs. title. I know if you saw some of the DMs I get lol. You would think some of these girls were Kobe the way they shooting their shots. You put up with more BS from me than anyone every knows from my ambitious ego, moods after a disappointing loss or when I’m nursing a nagging injury. For some reason, you stayed the course.

My Dream Is Changing

When I’m with you for once I feel like the spotlight isn’t on me, it’s on you and I love it. You inspired a side in me I never knew with this sense of comfort to relax for once. In a weird way, you’ve helped me find myself outside of the game. Even in those moments of joy, it scares me because I feel like one day I might have to choose between the dream that I’ve had since a kid and the dream that now has me thinking about a future with you.

Both dreams require my time and my heart. At an early age, my coaches taught me never half-ass anything I start. Never thought I would see this day that I would meet a girl that I would care this much about to change my childish ways.

From meetings, traveling, games, events and more I’m not always around. I know there are several guys trying to figure out why you stay and put up with me. Sometimes, I ask myself the same thing; you’re more of a catch than I’ll ever be. Won’t lie it scares me. Not because I’m insecure but because just like this game and all the other sports you don’t really need me. Honestly, your independence is what I adore about you. I tried to impress you with my status, all the fancy things and you said where is the real you?

Hulk vs. Bruce Banner

The game wanted the Hulk and you wanted Bruce Banner. Here is the thing I don’t know how to make both sides co-exist yet.

I’ve always known I needed the game and now I find myself needing you. All my life my biggest fear has been a doctor telling me I can’t play anymore and now I have a bigger fear of losing you. My athlete mindset went from chasing girls, fancy cars and acquiring wealth to thinking yo you might lose it if she walks away. Thinking more about X’s & O’s at home than I am on the field. Coaches and teammates are asking me what’s up you aren’t playing like yourself; what gives? I began to think the problem was falling for you.

The game started walking away from me and I blamed you. You became a scapegoat for an internal conflict I’ve never address. I started losing the green savage in me because my heart grew what felt like 3 sizes in one day.  Instead of figuring it out, I did what I know best; ran and buried all emotions as if they never existed.

Part of it worked the Hulk was back putting on a show for everyone around. When the lights went off the Bruce Banner in me was left with all the emptiness and regrets. There was no one to talk about the day or just do the normal stuff 90% of society takes for granted each day.

I Wasn’t Ready

The problem wasn’t you and the problem wasn’t the game. It was my ego starting to see the world differently and I had no gameplan. Honestly, I was scared of losing myself in you the way I lost my identity in my sports. So I lost you regardless because I did what I do best. For a little bit, I went through this angry phase feeling as if I loss a race I tried to act like I didn’t care to win.

Sometimes, I find myself wanting to reconnect and see how you’re doing but I stop myself every time. Not because I don’t care but because I know your path is clearer without me blocking the view from all the great thing ahead for you.

One day I know I’m going to be Waking From This Dream and I wonder sometimes who will still be around. It took me a while but I’m at peace now knowing you won’t be there because you’ll be out achieving and living your own dreams. Rooting for you from afar to achieve everything you want and this world has to offer. Grateful through all the lessons because I didn’t know how to love you and still chase my athletic dream.

Playlist

You matured faster than me, I wasn’t ready. So I apologize.” – 4:44 by Jay-Z

Lyrics

And I know we’re both better off
Even though it doesn’t feel that way at all
When a new one does come along
I’m just hoping I’ll be ready for the fall
I’m just hoping I’ll be ready for the fall” – The Fall Bryce Vine

If I woke up and I called it quits
If today I gave up all of this
(I don’t know what to do)
Maybe I could get you back tomorrow
And that’s the hardest pill to swallow

 

Jacolby Gilliam

Jacolby Gilliam

Jacolby Gilliam is the founder and publisher of 9INE POINT Mag. As a former walk-on, he realized there are so many athletes with stories that are not being heard or told for various reasons. 9INE POINT Mag was born the summer of 2017, as an athlete-driven platform to help athletes and those that support them share their stories and journey, regardless of your NCAA division, playing status, pro or semi-pro. Jacolby feels that every athlete has a journey that can inspire other athletes in the midst of theirs.
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