Honestly I feel pretty corny titling this post “Roots”. I’m sure this is one of thousands of posts littered throughout the internet with the exact same title about something extremely similar. But, if you guys bear with me I promise I’ll do my best to set mine apart. Obviously everyone comes from somewhere (duh, I know) and where someone comes from can greatly influence who that person becomes. Now, I’m not saying that everyone from the same area is exactly the same, but you can’t deny that your home has influenced you in terms of your morals, values, work ethic, etc. The good and the bad things we experience throughout our lives at home lead us on a path that has many twists and turns, but we use those morals and values to navigate and make us into the people we are and the lives we want to lead. I’m no different. Where I come from is the same as so many others. A small, middle of nowhere town 99% of the country has never even heard of. Even the state I’m from leaves people in disbelief when I tell them…”Great Falls, Montana.” A “city” of about 60,000 people situated a few hours south of the Canadian border, surrounded by farms and farm towns. A city where in middle school we had to learn evacuation drills just in case the oil refinery were to explode one day and a large percentage of my classmates were only there because their parents were in the military and happened to be stationed at Malmstrom Air Force Base. We were blue collar in every sense of the word. As literally all of you have probably thought to yourself at some point while reading this, “What the hell is there to do in Montana?”, I should let you know there’s…almost nothing. That’s where sports come in. If you ever want to find a large portion of the population on any given Friday night, the first place you should look is Memorial Stadium during a Great Falls High or CMR football game. I’m starting to come off a little like a black Buzz Bissinger here, I know. My whole life I played sports with my friends with dreams of being a starter on the varsity team at C.M.Russell high school. That was my first real goal. Every kid wants to be in the NBA, but I was from Montana…how could I do it? So like every other Great Falls youth, I looked forward to the days of hometown stardom in a green and gold jersey. Dreams such as my NBA aspirations had a way of dying as you grew. With no role models in professional sports from there, who existed to show us that even we had a chance? The defining moment in my childhood is one I’ll never forget. In 7th grade on the first day of school our teacher asked us to split into groups and discuss with each other what we wanted to be when we grew up. I knew immediately and shared with my team…”I’m gonna play in the NBA.” For the first and definitely not the last time, a girl in my group laughed at me and told me how impossible that was. That was the first of many forks in my path I would reach throughout my life. I could let what she said resonate and define my dreams, or I could use it as fuel. I guess at this point it’s clear what I chose. What I did wasn’t out of spite, rather the desire to not be limited by other’s words and beliefs. I may be right where 12 year old me always dreamed he would be, but there are thousands of other people out there, doubting me, doubting the kid in class with pro dreams…All I want is for them to see me and know it’s possible. It won’t be easy…but it’s possible.