Broadening Horizons

I watch practices and games.

It’s what I do.

I try to read body language.  I want to see how teammates respond to each other.

One thing I’ve noticed is that self-appointed leaders rarely last.

The irony is, those who don’t look to be a leader, often find themselves in that role because of the way they carry and conduct themselves.

They are foxhole teammates.

The teammate you’d pick to have in the foxhole with you when times are tough.

A few weeks ago I asked Rickey Nelson if he’d share with me his transformation from quiet, mind-your-own-business Rickey Nelson to team captain Rickey Nelson.

It’s great to see a young adult break out of their shell and thrive.  It seems Rickey found the hammer to break that shell.

I come into contact with some unique, great young people and I get the privilege of watching as they just begin to find themselves.

Here’s what Rickey had to say about the last 3.5 years.

mbyk

Going back to the end of my senior year in high school, I remember being very thrilled of graduating high school. However, I did have some major worries going into my first year of college. Dordt College was the institution I chose to attend. Not only was Dordt far away from home, but, it was also a struggling football program that I was not for sure how it was going to go.

I made up in my mind that I wanted to be a part of the team that changed the program completely around. In choosing to come here, I really wasn’t acknowledging the fact that Dordt is a Christian school. I attended public school my entire life until coming to Dordt.

I attended church every Sunday, however, we did not engage in deep Christian theology and topics outside of church. So by making the decision to come here, I really didn’t acknowledge the fact that I would be talking about every single day in each class. I was more football focused when I arrived here.

So by making the decision to come here, I really didn’t acknowledge the fact that I would be talking about every single day in each class.

Over the years of being at Dordt I quickly learned this wasn’t my normal setting of Dallas, Texas anymore. My very first semester here was by far the hardest thing I had done in my life at the time.

Football was going well as I planned.

I had made it through my first college football camp with a starting position on the team. However, when we played the first few games, we were not competing against other teams good at all. It was something that I was not use to coming from a winning high school program. We were losing games by a lot. The thing that I didn’t like the most was that it seemed like the spirit of the team was ok with not being able to compete with other teams. School was also becoming much harder because homesickness was beginning to set in and classes were much harder.

I chose to get an on campus job that was related to my field of study. It allows me to participate in praise and worship every Thursday night.

One activity that helped me adapt to Dordt was getting involved in other campus activities. For example, I chose to get an on campus job that was related to my field of study. It allows me to participate in praise and worship every Thursday night. Initially, I didn’t like it because it was different and it made me get out of my comfort zone.  However, it propelled me spiritually.

Dordt brings upon a lot of differences for a guy like me that really test you and make you challenge yourself to be a better person. I learned that I was maturing and not even noticing it. For example, within the football team after my sophomore season, I was voted as one the unity leaders.  Personally, I thought “why would the team vote me as a leader, I don’t even feel like I am.”  Even one of my former professors asked me to speak to incoming freshman that were going through the same program I participated in as a freshman. People saw the maturity and leadership I had within me that I didn’t even notice.

At the start of my senior year, it is now evident to me that I am a leader and I needed to embrace that role. My teammates reassured that by voting me as one of the team captains of the football team. It was truly an honor to be voted captain among your peers. I learned that sometimes just being the example of how to be can be the best way to be a leader.

I took that mindset on and off the field.

I also learned that just being an example is not always good enough. You have to do more to truly be better every day.

However, I also learned that just being an example is not always good enough. You have to do more to truly be better every day. This year’s football season couldn’t prove that statement any more than it did. We finished 5-5, which was well less than the expectations of what I wanted and hoped for this team. The key thing I took away from this season is “that there is no greater experience than this.”

There are not that many chances in life where you get to compete fiercely and Honor God at the same time. Also, the bond you build with your teammates who become lifelong friends is indescribable.

It is bittersweet knowing that the off-season is underway and this is my first one I do not have to participate in.

It is bittersweet knowing that the off-season is underway and this is my first one I do not have to participate in. It seems just like yesterday I was arriving here for freshman camp. I’ve played in every single varsity game since I have been here at Dordt and my body has taken a toll.

I do not really miss the workouts; however, I miss simply being around the team. It feels totally different when you hang with friends that are still on the team, but you don’t really feel included with them. It honestly feels pretty weird just being a student now. When you’ve grown up for the most part of your life having to do something football related every day, it becomes your life.

I do not really miss the workouts; however, I miss simply being around the team.

Now that the football aspect of my life is over, it feels weird just having so much time to yourself. Having this extra time though is not a bad thing though; I just look at it as more time to prepare for the future.

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