Leap of Faith
I was sitting on a plane at Kansas City International Airport with my flight itinerary in hand, Kansas City to Minneapolis to Charles de Gaulle (Paris). It was early January 2014. I had just graduated from William Jewell College a month prior and spent several weeks in Palm Harbor, Florida celebrating christmas with my family, before hopping on this plane to pursue my first post-college endeavor. Many of my friends took more conventional paths by attending Med School, Law school, joining the Armed services, or joining the workforce in the field their education had prepared them for; but for me, I was France bound to start my professional career in American Football by signing a contract with the Elancourt Templiers. I vividly remember looking at my flight itinerary and thinking to myself, “What the hell am I getting myself into?”
Well it turns out that I got myself into the crazy world of European American Football and I count my blessings everyday that I did. Don’t get me wrong, the life of an import is not all sunshine and rainbows but I think it would be difficult to find a better situation to learn about new cultures and ultimately, to learn about yourself. Playing Quarterback for the Elancourt Templiers taught me many, many lessons, none of which more important than learning to embrace a new culture and being comfortable in your own skin. I was a 23 year-old kid surrounded by late twenties, early thirty year-old men, with families, and mortgages, and other adult things that I couldn’t even fathom at the time, and these men were looking to me for leadership on the football field. I truly gave that club my all and I hope they learned from me as much as I have learned from them.
From France, I have made two short tenures in Finland, while eventually settling into my new home, Innsbruck, Austria, and playing for the Swarco Raiders Tirol. The last three years has been a journey that has involved visiting thirteen countries, gaining handfuls of relationship I will hold dear for the rest of my life, and meeting the person I will spend the rest of my life with. These last three years has helped define me as a man and the most exciting part is, I am just getting started.