(originally published in June of 2016)
After reading my friend Kacey Bellamy's letter to her younger self, I thought I'd drop you a few words of advice. I also figured a list would be better so, here goes.
1- Don't worry about your athletic career ( or lack of one). You won't be very good at anything but, it won't matter in the long run. You'll learn a lot about hard work and that part will pay off.
2- Also, don't be mad at your dad for marrying a five foot tall woman. You weren't going to the NBA or NFL anyway and Peg was an awesome mom.
3- Thank Ms. Bothwell, your junior high English teacher. You'll actually have her two years in a row and that will be a big bonus. It will be decades before you really use the writing skills she taught you but, they will come in handy.
4- When you meet Mike Woicek that first day at Springfield College, make sure you start to pay attention right away. Mike will end up with 6 Superbowl Rings and will teach you a ton. You won't know it then but, Mike is light years ahead of everyone else in your field and he's your dorm director. This is just blind luck, so go with it. This day is a pivotal point in your career ( even though you won't even have a career for a few more years).
5- Stay in the athletic training program at Springfield . It's going to end up being an amazing base for you as a future strength and conditioning coach and, you'll meet John D'Amico, a guy who will be a best friend for life.
6- Every time people tell you to play it safe, don't. Take risks. The day you quit your full time job as an athletic trainer at BU will be the biggest and best decision you will ever make. When you are dressing in your car in the South Station Tunnel on the way to one of your many bartending jobs, you'll doubt this was a good idea but, trust me, it will be OK. You'll have lots more days of self doubt when your friends with “real jobs” see you behind the bar. Resist the urge to get a real job and keep following your dream.
7- By the way, spend more time with your dad, he'll be gone far sooner than you'd ever expect.
8- Don't worry about Cindy's age. Mom is right, she's a keeper. That one will work out just fine.
9- Also, have kids sooner, it will be the greatest thing you ever do and a source of joy that you couldn't even imagine.
10-Don't worry about turning down pro jobs. It's all going to work out in the end. Your championship ring will come from the place you least expected it. I know you would have expected a Stanley Cup ring and not a World Series ring but life takes funny turns.
11-Take advantage of every opportunity. When Chris Poirier asks you to speak just say yes and show up. That will be career changing. Also, write every article and book that anyone asks you too. It will be a lot of work that really pays off in the long run.
12-Also, don't be so scared about opening your own business. When all the experts tell you it's a bad idea and you are going to go broke, make sure you don't listen.
13-Also, don't worry about Chris Palmer. He won't understand you. However guys like Jack Parker and Mike Jarvis will. They'll be the real difference makers in your development as a coach.
14-Make sure you go into business with Bob Hanson. He and Diane will become friends for life. This will be one case where partners really work out.
15-Believe in karma. Believe in as Coach Parker will say over and over “doing the next right thing”. You'll be amazed how the whole story turns out.