Feeling a little philosophical this morning, my friends. I've been thinking all day about all of this whole mess over there in Columbus, and how the meltdown is deserved and how it will affect the Brady Hoke era. But then I got to thinking about life, and young men, and the choices I make.
And I got to thinking about Terrelle Pryor. I remember sitting in bed sick as a dog on National Signing Day, waiting for the first victory in the rivalry by Rich Rodgriguez, only to be blown off by an eighteen-ish year old kid several hours away from me. And even then, as I sat hoping he would choose a block M hat somehwere, I began to dislike him.
But throughout all of this, he is just a young man, making choices. We've recently seen in our own camp how the choices of a young man can and will crush his dreams, and you can all speculate about who I am referring to. But these choices affect us only until their position is filled by another athlete. But for the student-- the kid-- it will affect much more.
Ten, twenty years from now, Terrelle Pryor (and probably each of the rest of his Tat-gate posse) will wake up. He will scramble out of bed, perhaps a bit slowly as a result of a few, or even several, years in the National Football League. I will not speculate on the quality of his home, or perhaps who might be lying beside him in that bed. But he will wake up and have to pee.
And so Terrelle will go into the bathroom, a pale shadow of the athlete he once was. He will turn on the light, and look in the mirror. He'll stare into his own eyes, at peace with the choices he's made. He will be able to sleep at night, and he'll have made peace with himself, and the media, and the fans of the school that he may not have graduated from, but he played football at. He'll be okay with the tremendous scrutiny he suffered as he moved onto the world of professional sports, and all of the decisions both smart and poor he will have made with the resulting payoff. He will have moved on with his life.
But then, he'll see them.
Right there, as he reaches for the toothbrush, he'll see those damn tattoos. No matter where he goes in life, and no matter what he does with his God-given talents, those tattoos will follow him to the farthest reaches of the earth. Those permanently inked stains of skin, up to and including that iconic Block "O" that symbolizes the very school he painfully severed ties with (and perhaps later sold down the river in a tantalizing ESPN the Magazine tell-all), will be there looking back at him. When he gets married, they will be beneath his suit. When he cradles his firstborn son, they will be there in the pictures. When he reaches out in forgiveness or humility, they will be there. They will remain as permanent and all-encompassing stamps of his life.
And no matter where he goes, or what he does for the rest of his days on the great green Earth, he will be defined by them.
Life is about decisions, kids. And decisions are about the rest of your life.