High-School, Louisville '88
Vanderbilt University, December '92
I grew up believing I could do anything to which I put my mind. Unfortunately, in hindsight, I now know that my mind wasn't exposed to a lot of things. I am next to the youngest of 5 athletic brothers and sisters and all of us had the opportunity to play collegiate sports on scholarship. I grew up without my father so we were financially strapped very often, so we not only lacked money, I also lacked the intimate guidance on what to do, how to do and the natural advice from a father figure. I still had coaches, men at church, and my grandfather in my life, but there's nothing like a father at home to instruct and lead by example. So at Vanderbilt, I truly learned how Naive I was. Notice the 'n' was capital :-). I became very watchful & mindful, taking mental notes on things they knew how to do and learned from them, their parents, and their fathers. From that point on, I truly made it a point to become a visual learner. If I could just see it once, I'd emulate the good things and discard the bad things. How do you know the difference? Look at the fruit. Look at the results. Look at how that decision affected people and the community. If it was good, I wanted it. If it was bad, I wanted no parts of it! Now, at 48, that's the story of my life.
My advice: look at everything around you. I mean truly look and pretend it's you in that situation. If I wanted my sons to never know their father, then I would do what my father did. But I didn't want that so I did something else. If you grew up without your father, make a difference and be better. Learn from his errors and allow that lesson to mature you on what not to do instead of using that anger as a crutch and an excuse. If you throw an interception, learn from it and never be caught in that situation again. If you find a circumstance that's bad or not at its best, what can you do to make it better? We have to train our minds to envision a positive change as opposed to walking away or laying in the mess. So, my advice is to think about it, internalize it, then change it if it's bad or make it better if it's good!
Marcus, WOW! I am learning so much about my own teammates that I knew very little back then. I'm sorry that you didn't have a father figure to learn from but it shows a lot about who you are as a person in how you knew you wanted to learn and did that by watching others around you. Fruit! Isn't that interesting! I use that word a lot too. If someone says they're an Apple Tree but there are thorns instead of apples, then most likely they aren't the Apple Tree! You were gifted with physical talent. You were fast, quick, athletic and had moves not just on the field but the dance floor(for those who don't know Marcus...he can break it down). God gave you talent physically with your feet and also your eyes! He allowed you to use your vision not just to see the field as a quarterback, but also to look at the field of life and understand who was doing what and who was producing what so you could copy those people. Check Your Game can mean so many things but in your story, it sounds as if it was just coming to the realization that you needed some guidance and instead of following the crowd or laying down and quitting, you watched and learned! Great job. I know you were able to pick the right pieces of fruit while in college because I noticed your fruit not just back then, but also today. You were a great guy, leader then and now it seems as well because I know what your focus is and nothing is more important than that! I can see it in your smile as well as your wife Tina's too, and that is what I call fruit. Thanks for sharing your story Marcus and I hope to encourage others who might be on the same path as you to learn from those around you instead of coming up with excuses like you could've done given your circumstances. -Gary Rogers